Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Acronyms

I read an article today that starts with the statement, “Healthcare has chronic problems.” Well, actually, the article didn’t start that way – it was about midway through the article when they spit that line out that got my attention. I told you, some medical articles and blogs are bah-ore-ing! Anyway, back to the interesting part, healthcare has problems. And I don’t care what you say, these aren’t political problems or problems we can sit around and wait for the political parties to solve (or further mess up). The article I read from Healthcare IT News is titled: Real Health Reform is About Helping Clinicians Make Better Decisions. Not too catching, yet true.

So before I can summarize this (somewhat boring) article into something relevant to you, I need you to know two more acronyms: EBM means evidence based medicine and CDS means clinical decision support. In order for clinicians to be able to use either of those in a timely fashion they will need an EHR (woops, okay three acronyms, this one meaning electronic health record). So what does this mean? So happy you asked.

The use of EBM and CDS helps support physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other people in charge of your health to make better decisions at the right time and in the right place. This means they could have an easier time making decisions about  diagnoses, treatments, and the prevention of diseases. Pretty cool, right? Well, it’s cool if your providers are using these tools. And that circles back to the basics.

They are using these tools by putting useful information into their own EHR – in other words, if they are using this electronic record in a meaningful way they will be achieving …what’s the phrase? What’s the phrase?..oh yeah – “Meaningful Use.”  And again, in other words, if your provider is not using an EHR (typing up your visit instead of writing it on those tree killers known as paper charts) there is no way he or she is utilizing the tools that would provide him or her with the best care for you, the patient. There is no way they have access to the most current and helpful EBM or CDS while they are making decisions about your health. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

So to summarize, through the use of an EHR your provider has improved decision making, better control over medical errors, and reduced complications and costs because of the EHRs ability to use EBM and CDS.

Simple, right?

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