In the United States, current regulations and incentives have been put in place to pave the way for more widespread usage of EMR technology. In a perfect world, this will eventually lead to universal compliance by medical professionals and a streamlined system that improves patients’ care, while at the same time allowing medical professionals to discover greater success. As the United States experiences a few growing pains on the way towards universal EMR usage, it is instructive to look at how other countries have implemented the technology. It is encouraging to see that EMR software is working for them.
The Road to Success
During the past 16 years, Taiwan has moved toward simplifying the way that interconnected parts of the medical system communicate with each other. EMR software plays a key role in this process by standardizing doctor-patient interactions. The country’s health insurance providers were consolidated into a single, national health insurance provider in 1994. Electronic billing was then introduced into the country in 1995, as a logical first step towards integrating new technology into the traditional medical system.
EMR and the IC Card
In 2004, Taiwan introduced the IC Project. This initiative implemented the use of “smart cards” for all patients. Taiwanese citizens carry a small card that contains their complete medical record. When the card is swiped by the patient, and a complementary card is swiped by a medical professional, the patient’s complete EMR is made available for use in their diagnosis and treatment. It is estimated that the use of EMR and IC cards in Taiwan has led to a 10% reduction in outpatient visits, as well as a decrease in both fraud and the waste of medical resources.
The United States is far from Taiwan’s universal implementation of EMRs; however, the gains in efficiency are still possible on a localized level. Try utilizing EMR software for greater improvement within your personal practice.