The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has ushered in a new era in medicine.Family physicians say there are both benefits and drawbacks to EHRs.Analysts insist, however, that EHRs are a necessary component of the emerging health care system.
Chris Tashjian, M.D., has been a family physician for the past 25 years and has spent most of his career practicing in a paper-driven medical environment.
"In the paper world, we reacted -- we waited for the patient to get sick and then reacted to it," said Tashjian in an interview with AAFP News Now. "In the electronic world, we can practice proactive medicine. We can actually try and reach out to patients before they get sick and before they have bad sequelae that come with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
"It changes the way we look at the patient," he added. Tashjian's experience is an example of how technology is transforming the practice of medicine. In 2009, the federal government enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which made major investments in health information technology and created financial incentives for physicians and other health care providers in the Medicare and Medicaid programs who achieve meaningful use of EHRs.