Patients' electronic records lead to more sharing, fewer hospital tests

ER Scribe

[Star Tribune, April 18, 2014] The facial tics of Dr. Paul Satterlee’s patient were vexing — maybe it was a neck injury, or bad strep throat? — until the ER doctor used a record-checking system to view the patient’s records from a competing hospital and discovered the young man had recently received a double dose of antipsychotic drugs.

What could have been hours of tests and monitoring ended with a quick script to treat drug-induced dystonia.

“All I had to do was give him Benadryl,” Satterlee said, “and it was over in five minutes.”

Anecdotes such as Satterlee’s have long been the only evidence that electronic record-sharing achieves a common goal of hospitals, insurers, politicians and others of avoiding unnecessary tests. But new data from Allina Health is providing some of the first hard proof that it actually pays off.

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