A new study has claimed that the use of digital health records to help improve the quality of medical care and reduce costs is not having a profound difference on how diabetes patients are treated.
The research, which monitored diabetes care at 42 medical practices in the United States and was reported in the Annals of Family Medicine, showed that doctor’s surgeries that had upgraded to electronic patient records offer less quality diabetes care than ones that still used paper records. The results of the study seem to confirm that a switch from traditional record-keeping to digitalisation is not sufficient to ensure that the records are used properly, but that more work needs to be done so that records are used to offer better care.
Electronic records should mean that all healthcare professionals can communicate with each other better, and that there are less mistakes in the treatment of patients, especially as some contain software that helps guide health teams to best treat individual patients.
New record systems should also offer current medication lists for every patient, be able to electronically prescribe the right drugs, and operate so that patients receive electronic copies of their health records if desired. However, there was seen to be a general improvement in quality of diabetes care across all the practices during the three years of research, despite the problems with the transition to electronic records.

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