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Integrated always accessible health information reduces the cost of healthcare

How integrated, always accessible healthcare records can reduce costs

We've all had that moment at the doctor's office where we feel like we're repeating information from one person to the next. Whether it is moving from one specialist to another or merely restating information for the front desk at the end of your appointment, lack of communication can be frustrating in any aspect of your life. In the healthcare industry, this can manifest of a whole slew of problems that can lead to higher health care costs and frustration for patients and doctors alike. However, why is it so important for your health care records to be up to date, accessible, and updated? Moreover, what are some of the newest forms of healthcare innovation that are pushing for more accessible, integrated medical records for patients and doctors alike?

How miscommunication causes healthcare costs to rise

With medical mistakes as the third highest cause of death in America, inaccurate medical records can be more than just frustrating. For many small practice doctors, trying to integrate and track patient's records can be frustrating. In the past, doctors would have to request medical information from various other providers to get the most up to date record of their patient's medical care. While this helped preserve patient privacy to some extent, in some cases the slow transfer of fragmented, often out of date health care information could contribute to the chances of misdiagnosis and potentially deadly medical mistakes.

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Not only do medical mistakes and misdiagnosis cost the patient and health insurance companies, in the long run, but they also use up precious time that could be spent detecting and treating an illness while it is still in the early stages. Doctors could treat many serious illnesses if caught early enough, which makes the cooperation and effective communication of medical records from one healthcare provider to another all the more important.

Innovations for up-to-date medical records

So what can we do about messy medical records? How can we connect our healthcare providers to offer the best patient care available? While still in the early stages of development, healthcare innovators are creating programs that allow providers to access patient records in one, secure location using artificial intelligence(AI). Artificial Intelligence, also known as Machine Learning, allows a program to pull information from multiple sources into one coherent format. The learning potential of these programs will enable them to take individual pieces of data and track possible correlations between them, as well as make sure patient records are up to date. By pulling information from various healthcare providers into one master document that tracks the healthcare history of a patient, doctors can communicate with each other. This leads to faster treatment, supportive care, and healthier patients.

Though these innovations are still in the early stages, making sure that a patient's medical records are readily accessible to medical professionals, well maintained, and regularly updated can help reduce medical costs and increase the quality of life for thousands of patients.

Source(s):

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704968/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2690228/

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/03/476636183/death-certificates-undercount-toll-of-medical-errors

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