Athlete EHRs: An Athletic Trainers' Most Competitive Edge?


National Athletic Trainers' Month

If you ask most people what being an athletic trainer means, images of someone rushing to the side of an injured athlete during a major sporting event is a likely response. While it is true they are often one of the first people on scene, being an athletic trainer means much more than watching from the sideline.

Athletic trainers are highly skilled health care professionals, often equipped with a master’s degree. With an acute knowledge of the specific medical issues affecting athletes, they use this to optimize the physical state of athletes. They can be found working in a wide range of settings, including high schools, universities, sports medicine clinics, professional sports teams, and national and international sporting federations. Athletic trainers are usually responsible for an entire team, and often many teams, meaning they can be treating hundreds of athletes on a regular basis. As a result, athletic trainers handle an extensive amount of imperative health information.

Athletic trainers focus primarily on injury prevention as well as diagnosis and chronic medical conditions. When dealing within any of these areas, it is essential they have access to an athlete's complete medical information. For this reason alone, an Athlete Electronic Health Record (EHR) can be the single most valuable tool an athletic trainer uses. Athlete EHRs allow users to capture, manage and share health data for athletes in a centralized database. In first-rate, user-friendly systems, the most crucial information is instantly displayed, including allergies, disabilities, injury status and emergency contact information. Athlete EHRs also offer the ability to track injuries on a per athlete basis in detail, recording when and where the injury occurred, equipment involved, diagnosis and an expected return to competition date. Some also allow athletic trainers to follow an injury paradigm, where surgeries, treatments, medical tests and other medical interventions can be linked to the causal injury.

Knowing that athletic trainers are often treating multiple athletes at the same time, many systems have been designed to support rapid and multiple treatment record keeping. An athletic trainer for a football team, for example, can treat the quarterback, two wide receivers and a linebacker in the training room all at once. This efficiency not only saves time when capturing information, it allows for more time to be spent treating the athletes. Many systems also allow an athlete’s profile to include multiple sports, especially useful in academic settings where athletes may play a different sport each season.

Finding a web-based Athlete EHR gives athletic trainers access to the system anytime, anywhere, enabling a mobility that most find invaluable. This means when an athletic trainer is with athletes on the road, they have access to the same information they have available to them in the clinic, facilitating better treatment decisions.

As today's athletes continue to compete on a more global playing field, so are athletic trainers. Those using an Athlete EHR not only ensure the best treatment for their athletes, the entire team is better positioned for success.

There are many other benefits that can be provided by Athlete EHRs, as well as factors that should be accounted for if you so choose to move forward with one. Read our recently released whitepaper, Choosing the Right Athlete Electronic Health Record System, for more insight.

Are you an athletic trainer? What kind of system are you currently using? Share your thoughts or experience below!

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