High-Tech Tools to Manage Your Health Information
Even if you don’t use a computer, there are new ways to help manage your health information and improve how you and your health care providers communicate. This electronic technology (also called Health Information Technology or Health IT) can help improve the quality of your health care. It can also reduce paperwork, medical errors, and health care costs.
Here are two examples of Health IT that your health care providers might already be using:
Electronic Prescribing—An electronic way for your prescribers to write and send your prescriptions directly to your pharmacy.
Electronic prescribing can help you save money.
Providers can instantly check which drugs are covered under your insurance plan, so they can prescribe a covered drug that costs you less.
Electronic prescribing can help you save time.
You no longer have to drop off a paper prescription and wait for the pharmacist to fill it. In most cases, your electronic prescription will be ready when you arrive.
There are fewer phone calls and faxes between your provider and your pharmacy. This means you get your prescriptions sooner.
Electronic prescribing can help keep you safe.
Electronic prescriptions are easier for the pharmacist to read than handwritten prescriptions. This means there’s less chance of prescription mistakes.
Prescribers will have secure access to your prescription history, so they can immediately alert your provider to potential drug interactions, allergies, or other health risks.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)—An EHR is a safe and confidential computer record of your health care history and treatment that is used by your doctor, your doctor’s staff, or a hospital. If your health care providers use EHRs, they can join a network to securely share your health records with other providers that treat you. This is sometimes called “health information exchange.” Remember, just like your paper records, EHRs are protected by state and federal privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
EHRs can help improve the quality and efficiency of your health care in the following ways:
Providing an instant medical history. This could be especially helpful in urgent care situations or when you are unable to provide information yourself, such as during an emergency room visit or if you are unconscious.
Allowing all your doctors and other providers to see the same up-to-date information about your condition, treatments, tests, and prescriptions so they can better coordinate your care.
Helping to lower the chances of medical errors and duplicate tests and treatments.
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