What are Electronic Health Records & Why are They Good for You?


A Bend-based business formed in 2006 by the Central Oregon Independent Practice Association is right in the middle of a nationwide effort to improve the country’s health care delivery system
Central Oregon Electronic Medical Records (COEMR) was formed in February 2006 by Central Oregon Independent Practice Association (COIPA), an Oregon IPA of 600 members spanning nearly 40,000 geographic miles. COEMR was formed by COIPA to aid physicians in training, support, and installation of practice management and electronic medical records in COIPA member offices.

“Our goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the health care delivery system by establishing a network of Electronic Health Record users. This will allow area physicians to better serve patients through more coordinated care,” said Bob Cone, president  & CEO of Central Oregon Electronic Medical Records, Inc.

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports   The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician’s workflow.

The EHR also has the ability to support other care-related activities directly or indirectly through various interfaces, including evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.

EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians.  The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, will enable providers to make a patient’s health information available when and where it is needed –not locked away in one office or another.

They can bring a patient’s total health information together in one place, and always be current – clinicians need not worry about not knowing the drugs or treatments prescribed by another provider, so care is better coordinated.

EHRs  improve patient and provider convenience – patients can have their prescriptions ordered and ready even before they leave the provider’s office, and insurance claims can be filed immediately from the provider’s office.

EHRs can also support better follow-up information for patients – for example, after a clinical visit or hospital stay, instructions and information for the patient can be effortlessly provided; and reminders for other follow-up care can be sent easily or even automatically to the patient.

They can link information with patient computers to point to additional resources – patients can be more informed and involved as EHRs are used to help identify additional web resources.

EHRs don’t just “contain” or transmit information, they also compute with it – for example, a qualified EHR will not merely contain a record of a patient’s medications or allergies, it will also automatically check for problems whenever a new medication is prescribed and alert the clinician to potential conflicts.

Next time you visit your physician ask him or her if they have gone ‘digital.’


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