Electronic medical records (EMR), when used to view and analyze portal images, were found to increase the attending physicians' level of compliance with assessment policies, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Portal images are used by radiologists to confirm the position of a patient undergoing radiation treatment to ensure maximum accuracy and to avoid exposure of other tissues.
Previous to this study, portal images were assessed on radiographic films or on printouts from a portal imaging machine. With the implementation of EMRs, the images can now be displayed in a timely and cost-effective manner through the electronic system.
Researchers working on the study reviewed 411 portal images of patients who had radiation treatment before and after EMRs were implemented in their medical facility. They found that EMRs caused a significant improvement in physicians following the policies to review clinical image results.
"The use of an EMR for reviewing portal images dramatically improves compliance with timeliness and record keeping," said Andre Konski, M.D., M.B.A., M.A., co-author of the article. "More timely review of portal images is critical because it allows for higher quality care in the treatment of patients with radiation."
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