ATLANTA, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Inefficient paper records are choking the U.S. health care industry and impeding delivery of even better patient care, says Albert Woodard, CEO of Atlanta-based Business Computer Applications (BCA), a company devoted to digitizing medical records.
Woodard says the current system, clogged with paper records, makes it difficult to coordinate care, routinely measure quality, reduce medical errors and react to emergency situations following natural or man-made disasters.
He says the situation will only get worse with 80 million aging baby boomers now landing on Medicare roles at a rate of 7,000 a day and the federal government's planned overhaul of health care expected to flood the system with 32 million more patients.
"The healthcare industry needs to catch up with other American industries," he says. "Tools like electronic medical records (EMR) are the 'grease' because they enable primary care physicians to share information, and coordinate the delivery of care," he says. Studies show the U.S. trails a number of other countries in the use of EMR systems with only 15-20 percent of U.S. physicians' offices and 20-25 percent of hospitals adopting such systems.
He says that disasters such as the tornadoes that tore through North Georgia last year could have severely hampered the care of patients if the storms hit local hospitals and destroyed their paper records as happened in New Orleans after Katrina. When a tornado flattened Joplin, Missouri and sucked up its hospital's patient files and X-rays, doctors were able to treat patients in a makeshift parking lot clinic without missing a beat because all records there had been switched from paper to electronic medical records (EMR).
"Hospitals, doctors, clinics and others are reluctant to adopt systems due to standardization, concerns about privacy, but mostly uncertainty about what's happening in the health care industry, particularly the health care law currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court," Woodard says. "But regardless of what happens it will not change the deluge of patients the system will be forced to cope with the next few years or the need to have patient records in the event of a disaster.
"Physicians can take laptops, iPads and smart phones from room to room or building to building. On-call staff can log in from anywhere - home, office, hospitals, or elsewhere - via a secure virtual private network to access patient information. The tools exist now to give every provider and patient access to all information necessary to prevent errors, improve patient satisfaction and improve outcomes."
Business Computer Applications, Inc. (BCA) is a leading provider of health information technology solutions and has served hundreds of clients in public, private, and correctional healthcare. The company offers electronic medical record, practice management, financial management, scheduling, accounting, and case management information systems along with a wide range of consulting and technical services. For more information on BCA visit http://www.bca.us.
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SOURCE Business Computer Applications, Inc.