The NFL (National Football League) is implementing the EHR system during their next season, and their physicians will now have cloud-based access to important medical data including medications, blood tests, X-rays, and video clips illustrating injuries sustained during games. The NFL’s move is close on the footsteps of the NBA.
With the implementation of a unified electronic health record system across the entire league, there will no more be individual team records. Individual records included both electronic and paper-based records. The advantage of the new system is that the records will follow the players, and will be readily accessible anywhere in the country by the physician treating the players, irrespective of whether they are part of the league’s medical staff. Players can have the added advantage provided by e-prescribing facility and orders for various tests and X-rays. This will ensure they receive care in a timely manner. Dr. Anthony Yates, president of the NFL Physicians’ Society, said in a press release that the switch to EHR would bring a continuity of care to players irrespective of whether they switch teams or move to another state.
The new system will enable physicians to study trends related to common problems resulting from high-contact sport. Head trauma has become a major concern, and doctors can have more comprehensive data on this. Concussions related to sports such as football may cause long-term health issues for affected players. Links have been established between concussions and early dementia. The affected players are also at risk of developing changes in behavior and personality, and may even encounter early death.
When comprehensive data is available in a central database, researchers will find it easier to study patterns in specific types of injuries that ultimately bring about the most serious complications. It will also facilitate formulation of effective rehabilitation plans, workout routines, and strategies for increased safety.