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n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Communication between colleagues - pitfalls and practical solutions : main article
Current communication between medical colleagues tends to be archaic and time consuming and doesn't always provide the information that is necessary in a referral.
Electronic medical records (EMR) should start to solve some of the problems inherent in the present system, but lack of standardisation is a major problem.
An ideal system would:
Accept all mainstream forms of medical communication from both referring and consulting doctors.
Convert the original documents so that they are: organised in a database easily, but securely accessible by the physician/s involved (without special hardware or software) able to exchange information (using industry standards such as XML and ODBC) with a variety of mainstream EMR systems (i.e. transform data formatting so that it is available in a range of medical 'standards'). This would protect the doctors' investment in their current, or future, EMR.
Display the documents on a secure website accessible only to the doctor sending the report and to the doctor/s to whom the document was addressed.
Ensure patient confidentiality.
A solution such as the one proposed not only facilitates timely interchange of data between otherwise incompatible health record systems but, by storing and organising clinical documents, and providing secure and simple access, it means that communication between colleagues becomes simple, inexpensive and extremely efficient.
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