The Importance of Electronic Health Records for Sobriety

One of the things that sets Safety Net apart from other sober living facilities is our use of electronic health records, or EHRs. With the increased availability of information and incorporation of new technologies in nearly every aspect of our lives, it makes sense that the medical profession would move away from paper charts and records and embrace the idea of having a patient’s entire medical history available in one, easy-to-access place.

Benefits of an Electronic Health Records System to Providers

An EHR dramatically reduces the amount of paperwork in a clinical setting and streamlines administrative tasks, both of which increase the quality of the patient’s treatment. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, EHRs make it easier—and less expensive—to manage a medical practice. In a national survey of doctors:

  • 79 percent said that an EHR system increases efficiency.
  • 82 percent reported that an EHR system saves time.
  • 75 percent receive lab results faster with EHRs.
  • 70 percent believe that an EHR enhances their data confidentiality.

An EHR system enhances communication among all of a patient’s healthcare providers and makes it easy to access a patient’s information from any location. It tracks electronic messages among staff, hospitals, labs and pharmacies, and it incorporates the ability to order and receive lab tests and diagnostic images electronically.

Perhaps most importantly, EHRs improve confidentiality and privacy by enabling practices to control who can view what information, according to an article published in the AMA Journal of Ethics. Automatic audit trails track the activity of the system and generate date and time stamps and detailed listings of who accessed what information.

Benefits of an EHR System to Patients

EHRs also benefit patients in a number of ways, such as:

  • Precluding the need for filling out forms every time you visit a new provider.
  • Enabling providers to see your full medical history and prescribed medications at a glance, ensuring a higher level of care and leaving far less room for errors.
  • Ensuring all members of a treatment team are on the same page and making the task of coordinating care easier.
  • Increasing the participation of patients in their own care through patient portals, which enable patients and doctors to communicate electronically.
  • Enabling patients to order prescriptions quickly and easily, track refills and access dosing information.
  • Improving the overall quality and efficiency of care.

Indeed, Taylor Hagin, the CEO and co-founder of Safety Net, cites improved quality of care as one reason why Safety Net instituted an EHR system. “We have found that it ensures that all staff are on the same page with regard to the individual needs of our residents,” Hagin reports, stating that it also improves decision-making time and documents the results of drug testing to track residents’ progress.

Committed to Quality

It’s Safety Net’s commitment to improving quality care while keeping costs down that separates us from other sober living facilities. Using an EHR system is just one way in which we strive to be a leader in the industry and make our sober living program one of the most effective in the nation.

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