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How Electronic Health Records will Help Americans Shed Pounds

Pulse offers Electronic Health Record and Practice Management solutions nationwide in more than 26 medical specialties. Since 1982 Pulse has focused on its mission to develop, market and support health care practice work flow solutions.

The picture of American public health is about to get much clearer thanks to HITECH, a provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA HITECH stimulus package incentivizes doctors to convert their practices from traditional paper records to Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology. EHRs have many advantages over traditional paper records, including increased efficiency, reductions in healthcare-related errors, and the ability to view the aggregate patient data in order to better understand the overall health of the populous. The aggregation of this data will arm public health officials with the insights they need to better understand causes and effects related to diet and weight.

EHR and several accompanying technologies will allow doctors to diagnose patients more quickly and more accurately than ever before. Complex diagnostic databases help doctors check for the right symptoms and narrow the possible causes for them. Pulse EHR software can include automatic drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy alerts that prevent physicians from prescribing potentially harmful medications. All of this allows physicians to see more patients in less time and lower costs while keeping the quality of care high.

Paper health records are information silos — your health data from your specialist, your hospital, and your primary care physician exist separately and do not communicate with each other or with outside entities. Pulse EHR integrates tightly with Personal Health Records so you can ensure your physician has a full history available to them. PHR integration allows you to take control of your health history, its accuracy, and who can view it.

Paper records also make it incredibly difficult to gain meaningful insight. It could take months to answer basic questions, like how many people are mildly overweight in your town? Or, how strong is the correlation between obese children and the weight of their parents? Widespread EHR adoption will help the health care industry to more quickly and accurately answer these questions, and thus better understand the dynamic public health environment.

In turn, this data will also provide insightful statistics that help doctors and policymakers craft their responses to obesity and enact policies that incentivize healthy living. With the ability to look at the picture of national health in a much more revealing and accurate light, they will be able to see trends and correlations between obesity and possible relevant factors, and identify best practices and effective treatments.

Electronic Health Record systems, like Pulse EHR, are powerful tools that will help American society process, quantify and solve this and many other preventable diseases. This concrete data will be immensely helpful in fighting weight issues in the coming years, because as much as we’d sometimes like them to, numbers don’t lie.

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July 20th, 2010

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