The NY Giants are converting their players’ medical records from paper to an electronic record management (EMR) system. Currently, the Giants are one of eight teams in the NFL that have converted to EMR.
The “pluses” are many: Primarily, EMR enables the Giants organization to more efficiently track the health care of their athletes with portable, comprehensive records at their fingertips.
The sharing and accessibility of records translates into a plethora of positives for the Giants players and the organization in general: First, because all medical records are stored in the online cloud for accessibility by the team’s entire medical staff, the result is less radiation as the need for multiple x-rays/MRI’s is eliminated; test results are immediately sent to every team doctor for viewing on iPads or desktop computers versus struggling to view the films on the sidelines. Second, EMR allows doctors to be better informed about and track position-specific injuries. Having injuries recorded in a database reveals what types of injuries occur at each position and, therefore, may reveal some clues to avoiding these types of maladies. Also, because EMR follows the individual, players coming out of college who have sustained injuries are easy to track using this system. Additionally, EMR is in line with Obamacare’s idea of having healthcare professionals access all medical records nationally.
While an efficient, online medical record system has its advantages, it also comes with a downside. First and foremost, in this age of strict HIPPA Privacy regulations, healthcare providers must ensure security in the manner medical records are shared. Information that only a doctor was privy to at one time can now be easily read by an entire medical team. And like any new system, EMR experiences its share of glitches.
Bottom line: In the past, when players became free agents or were traded, teams would have to produce nearly 500 page files detailing injuries and medical issues. With the ease of sending full records via Email or thumb drive, and all the benefits of moving to an EMR, is it possible to go back to medical records the old-fashioned way?