Ebola prompts advances in EHR use

Ebola prompts advances in EHR use

The recent Ebola outbreak that has been sweeping West African nations, and even resulted in a few cases within the U.S., has prompted unexpected advancements in the use of electronic health records. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, the epidemic reaching American hospitals has provided health care workers with a valuable learning experience. The first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the U.S., Thomas Duncan, was initially sent home and told he had a sinus infection. While the Texas hospital he was treated at issued a statement saying this was a caregiver error, many news outlets speculated if electronic health records could have played an important role in identifying his disease, reported WSJ. 

The source reported that major hospitals across the nation are paying more attention to travel history within EHRs, and even setting up alerts for physicians who encounter patients who have recently been in certain regions. Additionally, EHRs are being used to improve communication between various hospital departments – an important step in correctly diagnosing and stopping the spread of any disease. Healthcare Global noted that these systems have prompted health workers to carry devices with internet access, making communication between floors far more simple. If someone does enter the facility with a potentially contagious infectious disease, the push of a button can have all medical staff working to contain and treat the issue in a matter of minutes.