Electronic Medical Record Keeping

Online patient portals can be beneficial for patients.  Through a secured website, patients can access their electronic medical records, make appointments, request prescription refills, pay bills, view lab results, and email questions to their physicians.

However, aside from the potential benefits, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Patient portals are no substitute for getting needed emergency care after an injury.  In a medical emergency call 911 or go to the ER, rather than try to send an email to your doctor.
  • Entries made through a patient portal likely will be discoverable by the opposing party in a lawsuit and become part of your official medical chart.
  • While patient portals use some safety measures, they don’t routinely encrypt individual patient files, which could pose a security risk for information posted at the portal.
  • While getting patient care, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for the doctor’s undivided attention.  Electronic records tend to cause doctors to look more at laptops during office visits to type in medical information, don’t hesitate to request eye contact with your physician and to ask what is being entered in the record.
  • Sometimes entry fields in the records are automatically populated with incomplete or inaccurate data, so make sure the doctors and nurses enter accurate information.

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