One of the necessary tasks that I find great difficulty managing in my EMR is the patient medication profile. In addition to multi-doctoring and being prescribed different medications by different physicians, I am perplexed by the need to repeatedly enter information into the patient record that has been generated outside of my office.
A significant part of the the functionality of an EMR is neutralized in certain situations. Consider what happens when a patient with multi-system disease on multiple medications visits their internist or cardiologist. It has been my experience that considerable changes can be made to a patient’s medication profile after a single visit. If the family physician’s EMR is the repository for the most comprehensive collection of patient information, how do these medication changes get recorded in the EMR? At present the physician needs to read the specialist report (either before or after being scanned into the EMR) and then manually change the medication profile to accurately reflect the changes.
If this is not done consistently, the EMR medication profile quickly becomes outdated and of limited use. A mechanism must exist to allow the easy sharing of the medication profile so that changes made by the specialist are automatically recorded in the family physician’s record and vice versa.
If you have had experience dealing with this issue in your practice and have developed a mechanism to effectively deal with these medication changes, please share your thoughts by clicking on the 'Comments' link below.