Miami Lakes FL – A crisis is looming. Each year prescription errors alone kill about 7,000 patients and cost the U.S. health-care system as much as $6 billion. Studies show that going digital can reduce health-care costs and help prevent medical mistakes. The federal government has mandated that medical records must be electronic by 2011, and failure to comply will have financial penalties. Humberto Comellas, a South Florida-based IT leader and healthcare technology advocate is tackling the pending crisis by focusing on critical solutions. “The key to a successful jump into the electronic age of patient records will depend on standards so your information can easily flow from one medical application, or practice area, to another, with ease and most of all, accuracy” Comellas notes.
With close to 30 years of IT experience Comellas is recognized as an expert in the field of IT. He notes that efficiency and accuracy are critical to the survival of any business but that in the area of healthcare, many physicians’ offices are still run and managed using paper files and patient charts. “As technology has evolved, with secure and high speed wireless connections, the possibility of having patient data available has greatly evolved” he says. A recent survey showed that 46% of physicians believe automating patient records is essential to streamlining healthcare and driving reform.
While some critics often note that electronic records leave sensitive data vulnerable to hackers or system failures, electronic health-records have been plagued by thousands of conflicting software systems. There are numerous costs and privacy concerns. Comellas says ensuring that your systems have industry standard security measures such as firewalls, data encryptions and data backups are but a few of the steps needed when moving to electronic medical records (EMR).
Doctors often cite a lack of connectivity as a major reason they haven’t moved from paper to digital record-keeping. Only 14% of U.S. medical practices currently keep electronic records, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. “The major disconnect has been defined by ‘standards’ Comellas says. “Application developers have created a plethora of healthcare specific applications. It was not until HIPPA and other regulatory requirements were introduced that programming standards were defined.”
Humberto Comellas is president & CEO of ulltium consulting, Inc.℠, a technology consulting firm providing IT solutions, strategies and integration to Healthcare providers.
By: Tony C. Lesesne