Most facets of the healthcare industry have changed with the rise of digitization. The electronic recording of health information using new digital infrastructure helps to ensure efficient delivery of services. The electronic health record (EHR) is such an initiative, which digitally registers electronic health information about patients or broader patient populations.
The system of EHR has proved to be effective in making medical service delivery as comprehensive and informed as possible. Keeping an electronic patient record system for a deadly disease like Ebola is necessary from the point of view of timely and appropriate patient care. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has come up with a new mechanism for digitizing Ebola health records.
Electronic Record System for Ebola
As per a recent report, IRC is initiating EHR system for its new treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia. The new system can be accessed via waterproof Sony tablets that can be brought into high-risk zones. When the unit is no longer required, the devices will get destroyed, but the actual data will remain safe. Utilizing hardened tablet technology, physicians can take their information even into areas where environmental conditions may be rough and can make it reachable to the poorest parts of the population.
For the purpose of contact tracing, some of the patient data will be handed over to the Liberian Ministry of Health. On the other hand, data that doesn’t identify patients will be shared publicly in some capacity. This data may contain specific details on:
- What specific Ebola treatments are being provided?
- How many patients are seen in the unit?
- What percentage of patients tested positive or negative for the virus?
- How many people survived, and among those who didn’t, where did they go?
Analyzing this data will be helpful for scientists and researchers to understand what went right or wrong during the current outbreak, which will be helpful for them to perform well if future outbreaks occur.
Reasons for Digitizing Health Records
- Helps in easy transfer and accessibility of patient care data
- Space saving benefit
- Enhanced patient workflow and increased productivity, by increasing the number of patients served per day
- Improved results management and patient care with a reduction in errors
- Reduced operational costs and overtime labor expenses
- Customizable and scalable electronic medical records
- Advanced e-prescribing and clinical documentation capabilities
- Ability to more accurately and efficiently process patient medical billing
- Improved bottom line of the healthcare practice
The present treatment of Ebola is based on doctor’s own past experiences and what’s reported to be successful in the past. But with digital record system, it is easier for doctors to get directions on how much medication they should provide or what actions they should perform when someone has a seizure.
Digitization of health records can really transform how quality and safety are addressed in a situation like Ebola as well as other healthcare situations.