EMRs and Digital Health Week

Last week was digital health week (November 10-14, 2014).  I am a little late with this post but it kept getting pushed to the back of my plate each day.

Link was at CHEO last week for what we thought was going to be her last physiotherapy appointment for her torticollis but she needs to go back again in nine weeks.

While we were in clinic they informed Ty and I that they didn’t have her chart.  Which I thought was odd considering that we had an appointment for eight weeks. It was over in Clinic C-10 (the Endocrinology Clinic) from two weeks prior when we went in for a consult because she was having low blood sugars.

The chart never made it back to the physiotherapy office by the time Link was finished with her stretches and movements but they managed to print off her photos from her last appointment.

Her chart isn’t a huge novel or anything and she’s been at the hospital for herself only a handful of times.  I thought that CHEO was moving to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) in order to prevent this sort of thing in the future and allowing easier access to a patients chart.

I know with Marcus he has a hybrid chart and that the paper and electronic versions get updated almost at the same time.

Even the walk-in clinics that I attend have an EMR system and everyone walks around with a tablet to input symptoms and results etc.  The doctors print their prescriptions right from the exam room too.

Electronic Medical Records are a fantastic tool that allows data to be shared within a localized environment and barring any major errors, they eliminate the notorious doctor chicken scratch and lesson potential life threatening errors due to illegibility.

Canada Health Infoway has a few amazing commercials out this year about why digital health works for you.  The one I find most powerful is the one where there was an accident and there are health care personnel talking to a person who was just in an accident. You can see it here.

My question is this.  Why can’t a new patient (a six month old infant) have an electronic chart? At the very least a hybrid chart?