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Chlamydia Treated Sooner When Docs Use E-Records

Study found number treated within two weeks of diagnosis more than doubled

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Switching to electronic medical records can significantly boost how quickly patients with the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia are treated, a new study shows.

Researchers found that an electronic medical record system more than doubled the percentage of patients treated within two weeks of diagnosis.

The study examined the medical records of 100 patients at a sexual health clinic who were treated either before or after the clinic stopped using paper records.

Before the clinic converted to computerized records, it took an average of 11.5 days for a patient to be treated after being diagnosed with chlamydia. That rate fell to 3.5 days after the switch.

And the percentage of those who were treated within two weeks of getting a positive test result skyrocketed from 38 percent to 94 percent.

The longer a sexually transmitted infection goes untreated, "the more risk there is of onward transmission and of clinical complications," the authors wrote. "Appropriate use of technology greatly improves our ability to treat patients rapidly, and we should strive to use all available methods for the good of our patients and the betterment of public health."

The findings were published online May 27 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

More information

For more about chlamydia, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: BMJ Journals, press release, May 26, 2010

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