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How can electronic health records (EHRs) reduce unnecessary tests?

Have you ever had to repeat medical tests ordered by one doctor because the results weren’t readily available to another doctor? Those tests may have been uncomfortable and inconvenient or have posed some risk, and they also cost money. Repeating tests -- whether a $20 blood test or $2,000 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- results in higher costs to you in the form of bigger bills and system-wide, increased insurance premiums. With EHRs, all of your care providers can have access to all your test results and records at once, reducing the potential for unnecessary repeat tests. Hopefully in the future, all healthcare providers and facilities will use and share EHRs. Until then, there are steps you can take to help reduce unnecessary tests and procedures or duplications. You can create your own personal heath record to track your medical history, keep it updated, and give that information to your healthcare providers. Likewise, caregivers can play a role in helping to manage a loved one's healthcare by maintaining his or her personal health record and being sure all doctors have the same information.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.