In the “good old days” a quality medical record might have been a written “Diagnosis-sore throat, Rx-Penicillin.” But in this modern medical age, the complexities of the diagnosis and treatment of multiple, complex and concurrent medical conditions—as well as the insurance and liability requirements for documentation—make a poorly legible, handwritten paper chart a relic of the past. That’s why we were among the first Lawrence practices to go completely paperless back in 2003. Despite the expense and adjustments involved, we have never regretted that decision because it allows us to provide you better, more organized medical care. In addition to providing immediate access to a legible, well-organized health record, it performs many value-added functions, such as checking a new prescription for drug-drug or drug-allergy interactions and reminding us when necessary preventive services are overdue. It also provides a health summary easily shared with other doctors who might be involved with your care. In the near future, it will provide a patient portal that will allow our patients to make appointments, submit questions, receive lab results and even enter medical and insurance information online. The age of information technology is now in medical care and it is a benefit to all of us. Our practice is at the front of the curve.
The latest direction in medical care is the concept of accountability. We all like to think we are doing the best job possible, but if there is no measurement of performance, how do we know? Information technology now allows us to do those measurements and compare ourselves with other physicians and practices. Starting with Medicare’s Physician Voluntary Reporting Program, we have agreed to participate with the quality assurance data set measurement programs currently being finalized by various professional and insurance based organizations. We want to not just assume we are providing the best care possible, we want to prove it.