Electronic Health Records (EHRs) offer extensive versatility beyond their ability to record patients’ medical information. They’ve also been in the game for longer than you might think! EHRs are a valuable tool for many industries, including clinics, hospitals, and of course… sports medicine departments! Using an athlete EHR allows sports medicine professionals to save time, increase clarity of records and make informed decisions… even during a game! You might be wondering… where did the EHR come from? That’s why we’re here! Let’s get up to speed about the evolution of the EHR!
Who Was In The EHR Starting Lineup?
Before the start of EHR development in the mid 1960s, a patient’s medical records were kept on paper and stored in physical filing systems. Here’s a quick rundown of the timeline:
70s - 80s
- A handful of early computerized systems were developed during the 1970s, in an effort to make records clear, reduce workload, and make important information available to all individuals involved in a patient’s care. This included Lockheed’s system, which let multiple users access the system simultaneously thanks to its processing speed - a feature which influenced many systems to follow.
- In the 1970s, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began work to computerize their paper records, and developed what was eventually known as Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA).
- VA encouraged the use of VistA as the standard worldwide when they made it available to other organizations in the early 1980s.
90s - Early 2000s
- In 1991, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) research on the subject found that computerized records would improve quality of care and patient safety, and their overall health.
- Another report published by the IOM in 1999 found that between 44,000 to 98,000 deaths could be attributed to preventable medical errors, some of which could have been remedied by EHR adoption.
- In 2003, the IOM defined the 8 core functions they should perform, standardizing what an EHR must do to improve patient outcomes. The functions include decision support, electronic communication and connectivity, and reporting. Sound familiar? They’re also applicable to EHRs used in the sports medicine field!
Early 2000s - 2010
Government agencies and academic institutions weren’t the only ones pushing for EHRs! The case for making the switch to EHRs came up in U.S. politics as well:
- In 2004, President George W. Bush noted in his State of the Union Address that computerizing health records would help improve care and avoid medical errors.
- Through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2009, President Barack Obama demonstrated his support for nationwide EHR adoption. HITECH encouraged healthcare providers to adopt EHRs by providing payments to those who met certain usage criteria.
2010 & Onwards
This increasing awareness of the importance of EHRs was effective! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that implementation went way up from 34.8% in 2007 to 71% in 2012!
By 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that 98% of hospitals had adopted an EHR or met HITECH usage criteria. EHR technology has now grown to serve more fields than ever, based on the same basic principles of providing a secure and complete picture of patient health, allowing multiple points of care to collaborate on and communicate data, and making the entire healthcare process easier for everyone involved!
How Do EHRs Play Into Sports?
As technology continues to make leaps and bounds towards maximizing athletic performance, the athletics industry is moving towards tech-based options! Innovations, like wearables for tracking real-time data on heart rate and core temperature, virtual reality for training in seemingly real conditions, and athlete EHRs, play a big role in improving athlete health and performance!
Athlete EHRs like Presagia Sports are designed with the sports medicine field in mind, offering the same kinds of benefits as a hospital or clinical EHR in a streamlined and often mobile format. Much like a physician entering patient data during a routine visit, an athletic trainer (AT) may document an athlete’s visit to their training rooms, allowing them to have a consistent, complete record for each athlete. Centralizing these records in a secure digital system saves them the hassle of shuffling through paper files, which are easily misplaced. When you consider just how many athletes one AT might be responsible for, it’s easy to see how making health records digital would save them a lot of trouble!
An athlete EHR should simplify the day-to-day tasks of an AT, allowing them more time to focus on their athletes’ health. It’s time consuming to pull up a file for each athlete being treated, which is why Presagia Sports features a quick treatment option to allow ATs to record treatment information on one page, for multiple athletes! Another tool to speed up treatment documentation is the athlete kiosk, which allows athletes to enter their own injuries and treatments into the system! Treatment data is saved for the AT to review later, allowing them to focus on providing care in the moment, while ensuring there’s still a clear treatment record for each athlete!
As EHRs do in the medical field, an athlete EHR should provide the total picture of an athlete’s health. Access to complete medical records helps ATs provide the best care, based on an athlete’s history. Having all of this health data also lets ATs run reports to identify any trends requiring further investigation, such as an unusual number of injuries on a certain field. Conducting in-depth analysis on the data that’s in the system allows for informed decision making. Reports can also help with tracking improvements, or pinpointing any other areas that need work.
Athlete EHRs also keep athletes safe during the game through the seamless integration of useful tools like the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT), which facilitates on-the-spot concussion diagnosis. Through role or group-based security, multiple users can securely access the system from anywhere at any time, so you can make sure everyone knows who’s ready to play by viewing their up-to-date injury status. Simply put, when all key stakeholders can make informed decisions, athletes can perform at the highest level!
Implementing an athlete EHR like Presagia Sports can improve efficiency and productivity, and can be used to prevent injuries and optimize performance in many settings, including sports at any level, performance arts, sports medicine clinics, and even emergency services! What are you waiting for?
To learn more about Athlete EHRs, check out our infographic here!