What are the advantages of implementing PHRs in health centers?
Implementing PHRs in this context allows underserved and vulnerable populations to enjoy a higher quality of care. Such individuals are likely to be uninsured and to receive treatment from many different providers. This lack of continuity of care can have a negative impact on their health care outcomes and can contribute to increasing health disparities. PHRs enable these individuals to easily provide all their health care practitioners with comprehensive and current health information. At the same time, because practitioners can be more fully informed regarding the patient's health background, these PHRs also have the potential to decrease medical errors and to reduce duplication of care.
Implementing PHRs in health centers can also serve to facilitate doctor-patient communication, notably in cases where language barriers exist. It also proves useful in cases, such as with transient populations or following natural disasters, where paper records might not be easily accessible. Additionally, given that many health centers participate in networks that provide the IT infrastructure and services for their participating health centers, the cost of making a PHR available to patients can potentially be significantly reduced.
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