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Electronic health records: Context matters!

Ventres WB, Frankel RM. Electronic health records: Context matters!. Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare. 2016 Jun 1; 34(2):163-165.


Comments on the article by Kotay, Huang, Jordan, and Korin (see record 2016-22430-001). They tackle how to document patients' social histories in a way that is useful in real-time clinical practice-and explore the implementation of a new electronic health record (EHR) template specifically built to support their residency practice's commitment to addressing the social dimensions of patients' lives. For all of us convinced that the simultaneous integration of the biological, social, psychological, and existential dimensions of care is key to the practice of primary care, there are many questions to explore in relation to using EHRs. How are we going to do this in an environment that preferentially supports particularized data over an engaged awareness of context? How are we going to convince those with the technological expertise and administrative power that the transmission of information alone is not a substitute for insight, meaning, and relationships (Ventres and Frankel, 2010)? And ultimately, how are we going to make sure the EHR works for us instead of against us? Kotay and her colleagues have not answered all these questions in their study-such a task is beyond the abilities of one person or group of researchers- but along with others they have begun to illuminate a way forward (Cifuentes et al., 2015; Glowa-Kollisch et al., 2014). May we all now strive to continue the work that these authors have started. (PsycINFO Database Record

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