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Contributing Writer · Jul 15, 2011

EHRs Help Manage Chronic Disease

Managing chronic disease is a challenge for both doctors and patients. According to the CDC, seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease and diabetes. In 2005, 133 million Americans suffered from at least one chronic illness – that’s around one out of every two adults. The numbers are scary, but the thought of trying to properly manage chronic disease for such a huge number of patients is even scarier.

Most doctors do a really great job of treating their patient’s illnesses, but it’s not an easy task caring for regular patients while also keeping a close eye on patients with chronic diseases that need to be constantly monitored. It’s even more difficult to measure the progression of a patient’s disease unless that patient is constantly coming in for appointments and keeping tabs on their own condition.

Electronic medical records offer a great way to help patients and doctors manage chronic disease. Take a diabetes patient for example, a condition which requires constant measurement and management of blood glucose levels and other vitals. Doctors using an EHR can make all of the patient vitals and data come alive in such a way that helps them see trends, effects of certain treatments, and ultimately make better medical decisions. Even more, an EHR allows doctors to streamline how patient information is transferred between doctors and specialists as well as between doctors and patients. A new study showed that EHR systems can help improve the care of patients with multiple chronic diseases “by enabling better coordination between healthcare providers, insurers, and patients themselves.”

A Practice Fusion provider shares that “with use of a care plan enabled by the EHR, we were able to streamline the care process and more efficiently track their progress.” Better communication and more efficient tracking of patient progress enabled by electronic medical record systems like Practice Fusion equals a better quality of care, happy doctors and healthier patients.