Almost gone are the days when physicians collect your medical records in yellow manila folders stacked ceiling-high behind the nurses’ counter.
More and more medical professionals in the U.S. are using an electronic health records system to do things like store patient data, call up medical records and even prescribe medications. A Department of Health and Human Services survey found that in 2011, 35 percent of all U.S. hospitals have adopted an electronic health records system. It's a pretty rapid growth—in 2009, only 16 percent of U.S. hospitals use the system.
Many of these electronic systems are so handy they even have decision-making software—a tool that helps physicians make treatment recommendations and diagnoses.
“The idea is that a physician can open one up and maybe use one to diagnose whether a patient has appendicitis and decide whether they want to operate,” said Victoria Shaffer, an MU psychologist who studies the decision-making side of the electronic health records system.
Not all patients like this high-tech diagnoses tool, though.