Alert
Close

AARP Family Vacation Photo Contest. See official rules

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Finding Your Way

Tools That Help With Health Care and Costs

Electronic health records benefit patients

More hospitals and doctors' offices are using health information technology (health IT). And that's good news for patients.

See also: Connect with your doctor electronically.

One of the most popular uses of health IT is the electronic health record. These records put your health information — medical history, medicines, allergies, test results and more — in one place. This saves you and your medical team time. It also reduces the chance of an error — such as getting a drug you're allergic to. A complete electronic health record is particularly helpful in an emergency.

Work supported by my agency, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, shows how health IT tools can save time and money. They can help prevent trips to the hospital emergency room and even prevent life-threatening conditions.

Other types of health IT tools can help your medical team provide safer, more effective care. They also can assist you in making good decisions for you and your family.

For example, when kids get sick at school or day care, parents often must leave work to go to the doctor's office or hospital ER. Just over half (57 percent) of men and women had access to paid sick days in 2009, a recent survey found. That means that minor illnesses, easily treated, can end up costing a lot of money in health bills and lost wages.

But technology is allowing a child's own doctor, with parents' permission, to make a "virtual" office visit to schools and day care centers.

Through technology, trained assistants can use equipment, like special cameras and an electronic stethoscope, to arrange virtual visits with children's doctors. Physicians diagnose, prescribe and discuss treatments with parents and school staff over a secure Internet connection.

The Health-e-Access Telemedicine program has lowered health costs by more than 23 percent by reducing ER visits. The program includes 10 child care centers and 12 elementary schools in the Rochester, N.Y., area. It is now expanding to assisted living centers and senior day care centers.

Another health IT program makes it less likely that people in nursing homes will develop pressure ulcers.

Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, occur when patients stay in one position too long. People who are bedridden or use a wheelchair are at risk. If not caught early, pressure ulcers can cause serious infections and even become life-threatening.

A computer program called On-Time helps identify patients who are likely to develop pressure ulcers and then creates special care plans and reports. It encourages nurses, nursing assistants, dietitians and others to work closely on care planning and follow up. In the 21 facilities that used this program, the incidence of pressure ulcers declined by more than 42 percent.

Next: No substitute for dedicated health care providers. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement