Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 11, 2013
Understanding importance of electronic medical records

Technology is transforming the way hospitals deliver health care, and Mountain West Medical Center and Tooele Clinic Corporation is no exception.

Some of these technology investments are obvious to the patient, such as advanced diagnostic tools or surgical equipment. Other new technology focuses on less visible aspects of your patient care experience, such as the electronic medical record.

An EMR is a computerized, virtual medical record that contains patient information similar to the paper medical file in your doctor’s office. Information in your EMR might include your medical history, notes from doctor’s visits, past surgeries, allergies, diagnostic images and test results, lab work, current medication, and other clinical data about your health.

Just like your paper medical file, information in your EMR is protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which maintains and protects the privacy of patient medical information, as well as the secure handling of electronic information and personal data. An EMR is digitally stored on a safe, secure site, and only you and your medical providers — and others you grant access to in writing — may access the information.

EMRs are transforming the way patients receive care by promoting better management of patient medical information, improving quality of care, and enhancing the flow of information between patients and their physicians.

Using an EMR, your physician and other specialists involved in your care can collaborate seamlessly, sharing information in real-time. In addition to archiving past health information, EMRs are used to document your current care and health status, prescribe medication, and take care of routine details like scheduling an appointment or a surgical procedure.

The chief advantages of an EMR are increased efficiency, seamless sharing of medical information between medical professionals involved in your care and better accuracy. One of the biggest benefits is that your physician can quickly find and view your personal data. For example, diagnostic test results can be analyzed and shared more quickly with you and other specialists involved in your care. If you are admitted to the hospital, then discharged back to your primary care physician for further treatment, your doctor may have electronic access to your hospital chart, labs and imaging studies. Your doctor is able to view all the information right from his or her office, if all care providers are using compatible EMR technology.

A chief advantage for the physician is the streamlining of patient care and avoidance of duplicative tests and treatment. Your doctor can view past diagnostic tests and results rather than administering a new test, saving time and out-of-pocket medical costs, as well as enhancing care.

An EMR also helps with proper medication administration and safety. When your doctor prescribes medication for you, an EMR provides a record of the proper medication and dosage, as well as any other medications you are taking. This helps ensure that you receive the right medication and monitors and prevents any possible interactions with other medications.

Learn more about EMRs at by clicking on “About Us” and “HIPAA Privacy Notice,” which details patients’ rights regarding protection of medical information, as well as the policies for use and disclosure of patient information.


Eileen Van Reusen is the director of clinic operations through Mountain West Medical Center and Tooele Clinic Corporation.

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