Electronic Health Records Could Help Suppress Domestic Abuse

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Patient charts, prescription pads, Jenga-esque stacks of folders, and metal clipboards are very last century. We are now in the era of stem-cell research, gene-splicing, and CAT scans. Handwritten notes and record-keeping feels retro and is eco-expensive. Annual health care in the United States costs approximately $ 2 trillion, or more than $ 6,600 per man, woman and child in the country, according to Time and CNN. Not only does streamlining the health care industry feel technologically obvious, but it could save an estimated $ 300 billion a year, according to the national coordinator for health information technology under the last administration.


The overarching consensus with electronic health records is that we must go paperless, linking hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics through an interactive digital grid that allows medical histories, test results and all other data to be digitally transmitted anywhere and helps to eliminate medical errors, labor costs and the general clutter caused by paperwork. There are more benefits to electronic health records than less clutter, faster file finding, and more time for patients. Predictive models that tap into electronic health records could help doctors diagnose domestic abuse “10-30 months earlier by highlighting subtle patterns that are easy to miss,” according to a study from Children’s Hospital Boston.


In the study, researchers at Children’s Hospital analyzed six years of insurance claims for emergency-room visits and hospitalizations of more than half a million patients over the age of 18. All the patients had visits recorded over a minimum time period of four years, and only 1-3 percent had an abuse diagnosis on record.


“Using data from two-thirds of the patients, a computer model was trained to differentiate those who ultimately received a diagnosis of abuse from those who didn’t, based solely on their history of visits. The variables associated with abuse (such as a higher number of annual visits, mental health diagnoses, and visits for injury) were used to create a predictive model, which was tested on the remaining third of the patients,” according to the statement from the hospital. The study was published online September 29 in the British Medical Journal, and funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Library of Medicine.


Domestic abuse accounts for half of all murders of women every year, and is the most common cause of non-fatal injuries to women, according to a statement by the hospital. Most patients who seek treatment for injuries in these situations typically encounter a doctor for an average of 10 minutes, which is not enough time to carefully review and interpret information from multiple visits over the years. Electronic health records provide an additional safety net that could help minimize the chances that a high-risk patient slips through the cracks.


The e-MDs electronic medical records system is 2006, 2007 and 2008 CCHIT Certified and designed by physicians aiming to improve care, reduce errors and simplify business so that time spent with patients is time billed and coded properly. Its features work with staff to make the transition to an electronic medical records system as smooth as possible. With e-MDs, medical practices can visit, code, and bill with a single application. If your facility is looking to implement an electronic medical records system, look no further than e-MDs for a robust, cost-effective EHR system.