Using EMR to help diagnose a root problem from basic symptoms

Diagnosing a patient is an incredibly challenging process. Considering the range of symptoms correlated with different diseases, a person seeking treatment for one ailment may be in fact be suffering from a more dangerous disease that is still developing internally.

For example, in an ABC News feature exploring the dangers of sleeping pills, experts stated that insomnia is not actually a disease itself, but oftentimes a symptom of something far more serious such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or asthma.

This poses a problem for physicians as it may be difficult to quickly identify exactly where a patient's suffering is rooted. Consequently, a doctor may end up prescribing a patient potentially dangerous medication like Restoril, Sonata, Lunesta and Ambien in the case of insomnia, when in fact he or she should be treating the underlying issue.

Recognizing the importance of identifying root diseases before they fully externalize, a recent article published by ACP Internist focused on the value of diagnosing the proper disorder based only on a few symptoms.

"I had a patient who presented with calcium of 20. She had not known that she had breast cancer until she had that calcium level," said Dr. Susan LeGrand of the Cleveland Clinic. "Some patients don't experience the symptoms of severe hypercalcemia if the increase occurs slowly, but a quick increase in calcium is more likely to cause symptoms."

Interestingly, advances in electronic medical records software can make this process much easier and reduce the likelihood of error. With a full picture of a patient's medical history instantly available, a doctor can better understand biological tendencies, prior ailments, related symptoms and other factors that will provide valuable insight into the root of a particular disease. A medical technology consulting firm can assist facility managers implement this technology and ensure staff utilize it to its full potential.

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.