The Doctor Can See You Now. Really, Right Now

New York Times—October 15, 2012


Some new technology that was developed for more efficient medical care delivery has some benefits for patients. Despite widespread concerns about security and the potential for errors, electronic medical records can save patients time and improve communication.

Dr. Steven K. Magid, a rheumatologist whose office is at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said that initially he was worried about the time commitment needed to enter all of a patient's information digitally, but now he sees the benefits.

"It's faster for me to write a list of medications on a piece of paper than to do it on the computer," Dr. Magid said. "But on the back end I save time because everything is legible and everyone is working off the same list."

Patients' treatment instructions are clearly typed out, generating fewer calls to his office - and to him. And when patients still are confused or a new matter arises, his staff can address the problem without him by looking up the information in the digital record.

Eventually, say some, patients will expect their doctors to adopt these kinds of timesaving tools.

"There's a tipping point," Dr. Magid said. "There is going to be a shift."

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