Access to electronic medical records significantly increases efficiency of emergency care

A new study led by Paul Sierzenski, MD, RDMS, of Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE, discusses the benefits gained from providing health care workers with immediate access to patient medical records during a mass casualty incident.

The authors believe that using radiofrequency devices that electronically contain a person’s medical records presents a solution that could both streamline aid and reduce medical charges, two often incompatible goals.

Medical history is an important component to a patient’s medical care. Combined with immediately accessing patient medical information, this tool has the potential to radically change the speed of treatment and a patient’s medical care costs in a large-scale emergency.

“During a mass casualty incident, time and resources may not be available to acquire this information,” says Sierzenski. “This technology will allow health care providers to access medical records almost immediately so that appropriate care can be provided.”

The study finds that in a prospective mass casualty scenario, the ability to electronically access a patient’s medical records would also significantly decrease patient charges. The research shows that per-patient savings could average $685.67 simply by avoiding extraneous tests.

“Health care providers can incorporate this information to deliver appropriate care in a timely, cost-effective manner,” says Sierzenski. “Using radiofrequency devices represent one potential means for allowing a secure patient identifier and access to patient medical history.”

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