Earthquakes force New Zealand to convert to Electronic Medical Records.{3}

by George A

Booker, Jarrod. (Designer). (2006). Retrieved Oct 9th, 2011 from:

The recent string of earthquakes in Christchurch has changed the way New Zealand citizens want to store medical records in hospitals. The normal way of keeping medical records in paper form pose a serious threat to how well hospitals can respond during an earthquake. As a result Canterbury in particular is prioritizing moving all their patient records to the eSCRV (electronic shared care records view) system. This is to be implemented this month and to become fully running. It will allow doctors and pharmacies to get up to date information on patients anytime.

I think this is a very logical decision for New Zealand. I also think that it makes sense for the rest of the world to finish the switch to electronic medical records. Moving medical records to a database approach is far more safe and effective for medical care than having a great deal of paper work behind desks. The nurses and doctors have to have the physical paper in their hands to view medical history. These records have the possibility of being destroyed because they are paper. The solution has the database held onsite at the hospital where the patient is being cared for or if a person is a patient of that location. The doctor then can access this information in any room with a computer in the hospital and doesn’t require the hospital employees to move around a folder full of very sensitive information. The records can be stored safely with high security and backed up daily off location.  Pharmacists are also given access to patient records as well. This creates a network where in the case of an emergency the complications with having paper records are gone.

It is good to hear that the citizens of New Zealand are taking heed to the earthquakes and making steps in the right direction to be prepared for the worst. Apparently still most of the world is using paper records but slowly hospitals are making the change to the more efficient and secure EMR option. Patients are given the option to opt out of having their records stored electronically but I doubt that many people will choose that. I imagine within the next 10 years almost all hospitals will be on an EMR system. Seeing a large library of files behind the receptionist’s desk will become a thing of the past and it will serve everyone as a result.


(2011, October 7th). Canterbury People to Benefit from health info sharing system. New Zealand’s Independent News Media.

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