Most obstetrician–gynecologists are now using electronic health records. They have rapidly moved into use because of the recognition of their potential benefits and government programs that incentivize their use. The benefits of health information technology (IT) include its ability to store and retrieve data; the ability to rapidly communicate patient information in a legible format; improved medication safety through increased legibility, which potentially decreases the risk of medication errors; and the ease of retrieval of patient information.

The potential to improve patient safety exists through the use of medication alerts, clinical flags and reminders, better tracking and reporting of consultations and diagnostic testing, clinical decision support, and the availability of complete patient data. Data gathered through the use of health IT can be used to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic interventions and have been demonstrated to lead to improvements in the practice of medicine 1. Alerts can optimize adherence to guidelines and evidence-based care 2. Record uniformity can be designed to reduce practice variations, conduct systematic audits for quality assurance, and optimize evidenced-based care for common conditions 3.

Health IT is increasing patient engagement as consumers of health care. It allows patients access to their medical records, which helps them to feel more knowledgeable about their conditions and encourages them to actively participate in shared decision making.Outside the patient encounter, it can improve follow-up for missed appointments, consultations, and diagnostic testing. A health care provider can search for specific cohorts of patients within a practice to monitor and improve adherence to indicated health care such as mammograms, Pap tests, or measurement of hemoglobin A1C levels.

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