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Electronic Health Records: The Hypochondriac’s Dream Come True

by | Dec 1, 2010

My girlfriend is a bit of a hypochondriac. I say this with all of the love I can muster when sitting in the emergency room at 3:00 in the morning. She is fine mind you, but she just saw a special on West Nile virus and now thinks that she might be coming down with a mild case. I only bring this up because when I was imprisoned in the waiting room, wasting away the hours of precious sleep I usually get before a full day of work, I noticed that she was laboriously filling out a patient medical form, for like the tenth time this year. I began to wonder why a patient, possibly stricken with a mild case of West Nile, would have to meticulously fill out a medical form when not three weeks ago we were in this same waiting room filling out the same paperwork. The answer: a lack of technology.

If you are not yet aware, the federal government has mandated that all healthcare institutions replace the paper-based records systems that dominate the medical profession and convert to a paper-less, Electronic Health Records system (EHR). This mandate is seen as an attempt to streamline the healthcare process, cut costs, and diminish the environmental impact of such vast quantities of paper. It is a monumental undertaking. Having a system that tracks a patient’s medical history in real-time could usher in a new era of collaboration, diagnostic effectiveness, and diminishing healthcare costs. The ability to view documents, insurance statements, faxes, communications, and images such as MRI’s will save time for doctors, medical personnel, and administrative staff, not to mention for patients in the waiting room. Just think what you will be able to accomplish while sitting there and not having to fill out those forms over and over again (I particularly like leafing through two year old editions of “Rod and Rifle”). But in all seriousness, this movement could be a great thing for healthcare and the ways we go about administering care to those in need.

Unfortunately, many of the current systems lack the flexible technology to make them productive and accessible to all levels of the medical profession. In the rush to convert to a paperless workplace, healthcare providers have implemented a diverse set of content management systems without a clear IT roadmap and architecture model. As a result, many of these systems are ill-equipped to properly access and interact with this newly digitized content. What has been lacking until now is a truly agile front-end that can allow the many end-users in the EHR process to access the vast quantities of content easily and efficiently.

Luckily, Snowbound has taken it upon themselves to make everybody’s life a lot easier by developing our best-in-class, pure HTML AJAX viewer. Our VirtualViewer AJAX product is a Zero Footprint document and image viewer that is a shining example of what the future of EHR should look like. A completely Web-based solution offering the ease of accessing content through a browser without the need for a fat client-server solution or anything installed on the end-user device. This means that all stakeholders in the EHR system can have access to critical medical documents while remaining compliant with today’s legislative mandates such as HIPAA, HITECH, and HL-7. It is innovative technology like Snowbound’s VirtualViewer that is going to make the adoption of EMR a productive, positive, and preferably painless transition into the future.

Although I will miss those long nights filled with insurance forms and medical release statements, I am comforted in the fact that innovation like Snowbound’s VirtualViewer for AJAX will allow for my girlfriend to spend more time with the doctor listing off her imagined symptoms and less time asking me for my emergency contact information.