EHR may provide bigger picture needed to understand MS

Chiropractic EMR will make it easier than ever to categorize health data.

Chiropractic EMR will make it easier than ever to categorize health data.

As well as streamlining day-to-day operations, chiropractic EHR gives medical practitioners an opportunity to observe sweeping trends more easily and effectively than ever before. This could be a boon throughout the health care industry, from initial research through to treatment methods. Recently, a team of scientists at Vanderbilt University illustrated this potential in the context of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – a complex autoimmune disorder that affects millions of Americans.

"Most research studies have focused on the origin of the disease, partly because of the difficulty in ascertaining sufficient longitudinal clinical data," according to a study abstract from the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. "Electronic medical records may provide such a tool. We have previously shown that genomic signals of MS risk may be replicated using EMR-derived cohorts. In this paper, we evaluated algorithms to extract detailed clinical information for the disease course."

MS presents unique challenges in treatment because it takes such different forms from one patient to another. However, the increased use of EHR may assist in discovering patterns that could otherwise be overlooked in the most rigorous and wide-spanning studies. The researchers employed a process of text mining to identify individuals diagnosed with MS, and proceeded to analyze their progression of symptoms to piece together a rudimentary timeline.

Further investigation is required to fully harness the power of medical EHR in this respect, but the Vanderbilt study certainly hints at the revelatory benefits of digitized documentation.

For chiropractors, the introduction of chiropractic EMR software may also help register sweeping trends across a region or within a certain industry of employment. In essence, the better these professionals are able to categorize and compare data, the easier it will be implement long-term strategies to manage care. 

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