Electronic Medical Records, Healthcare, and the Patient
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After several decades of development, Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are now exerting a more significant impact on healthcare practices than ever before. Although most of the reasons for implementing EMRs focus on improving medical care as a whole, one must also consider the effects increased EMR use may have at the level of the patient-physician encounter. In this paper, both the advantages and disadvantages of EMR use, especially with respect to the patient-physician relationship, are examined, particularly in terms of patient trust, security of patient information, and quality of healthcare. The United States healthcare system stands on the brink of a new age of electronic health information technology. The potential for innovation within this new technology represents a great opportunity for the future of medicine. However, in seeking to implement EMRs caution must be exercised to ensure that implementation does not have adverse effects on the personal nature of the patient-physician relationship—an important issue that must be addressed in order preserve the integrity of healthcare in the new electronic age.