Managing a patient’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) is becoming very important to medical professionals. For the busy chiropractic office, having these records available enhances patient care and allows the office to have updated and accurate information right at their fingertips. There are many companies that provide digital X-ray systems so that EHRs can contain this medical information more readily.
Why Use X-Rays?
There are chiropractors who rely on X-rays as a standard procedure in order to determine where to adjust the spine, and to help rule out various pathology. While it may not be necessary for every patient, X-rays can be particularly helpful in the case of traumatic injuries, elderly patients (with potential bone disease or arthritis), and in those people who have had long-term pain that hasn’t been resolved by prior chiropractic therapy.1 Another valid clinical reason for X-rays would be to look for spinal abnormalities, such as tumors, degeneration, or fusion.2 Chiropractors can view bones, joints, soft tissues, muscles, and fat on the X-ray. In order to reduce the slight risk of exposure caused by X-rays, chiropractors must have their equipment regularly inspected. These days, special X-ray films and screens “dramatically reduce the radiation dose” as well. Chiropractors weigh the risks of X-rays with benefits of the information that they can gather in order to formulate the best treatment. Not all patients receive X-rays, but patients with fractures and infections, for example, may benefit from them.3
There are many companies that make digital X-ray equipment specifically designed for chiropractors. Digital X-rays are also one way to “go green”. One company, Custom X-Ray Digital, makes chiropractic systems that offer features such as eliminating the need for “cassettes, film, chemistry, automatic film processor, darkroom, film storage, and monthly maintenance”, systems for clinics of any size, and low-power/cost-effective systems.4 Lupica Medical Systems provides affordable options to serve any type of practice. They offer digital X-ray equipment with various configurations (i.e., Full spine, Tilt Wall Bucky, etc.). They also have reader systems that are compact and lightweight.5 MedicExchange.com sells a variety of brands of chiropractic X-ray machines to serve the full-range of chiropractic practice budgets. Their aim is to reduce healthcare costs.6
Medical Records and X-rays
Many of the EHR software companies today, such as E-Z BIS, Platinum System, and ChiroTouch incorporate options in their systems to include digital X-rays as part of the patients’ healthcare records. The EHR improves patient care by allowing records to be accessed more easily. The New England Journal of Medicine “found evidence that practices with EHR provided better quality care”.7 By including digital X-rays in the record, patients can have a more robust EHR, and the risk of repeated X-rays and duplicate treatments can be reduced.