what are the benefits of record keeping to a patient?  

Expert Answers
stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Health care providers need to keep records of treatments offered to specific patients in order to determine the effect of those treatments upon medical conditions and to assist in modifying treatment plans as indicated. If there was no record of medication prescribed and its results or of therapies ordered, there would be no basis for evaluating effectiveness for that particular patient's condition.

Patients need to keep records of what treatments they have received so they can be aware of what has been tried, how they reacted (the patient knows best how different medicines or activities may impact the way s/he feels!), and what difference may have been felt through modifications of dose or therapy.

There are an infinite number of variables that impact treatments for medical conditions - the only way to attempt to identify which factors have significant impacts upon any plan of treatment starts with meticulous record keeping of all those variables.

loraaa | Student
Just like any other record keeping, moving patients' records from paper and physical filing systems to computers and their super storage capabilities creates great efficiencies for patients and their providers, as well as health payment systems. But efficiency isn't the only benefit. For individual patients, access to good care becomes easier and safer when records can easily be shared. Important information -- such as blood type, prescribed drugs, medical conditions and other aspects of our medical history -- can be accounted for much more quickly. At the very least, an existing electronic medical record (EMR) can save time at the doctor's office. At most, quick access to our records can be lifesaving if an emergency occurs and answers to those questions are needed during the emergency decision-making process. Even the federal government thinks electronic record keeping is important, and it has put its money and efforts where its recommendations are. Veterans' hospitals across the country share an electronic system, called VistA, which allows for sharing of records for veterans in its health system. Should a patient find himself in a VA hospital, even while away from home, the hospital will have the same access to his or her records that the hometown hospital does. Tragic events like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the California fires have showcased the benefits of electronic record keeping. Those injured or made sick by any of those events were more easily treated and may have found better outcomes than those for whom no medical records were available. Large scale EMR systems replicate their stored records in several places across the country so that one tragic event won't destroy them. Another benefit is safety. In the past, the way a doctor obtained your health history was by asking you. Each time you visited a new doctor's office, you filled out forms about your history, including previous surgeries, or the drugs you take on a regular basis. If you forgot a piece of information, or if you didn't write it down because it seemed unimportant to you, then your doctor didn't have that piece of your medical puzzle to work with.