Integrating Health Information Technology and Electronic Health Records Into the Management of Fibromyalgia

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Alvin F. Wells, MD, PhD; Lesley M. Arnold, MD; Cassandra E. Curtis, MD; L. Jean Dunegan, MD, JD; Charles W. Lapp, MD; Bill H. McCarberg, MD; Andrew Clair, PhD

Table of Contents

Postgraduate Medicine:

Volume 125 No. 4

Category:

Clinical Focus

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DOI: 10.3810/pgm.2013.07.2678
Abstract: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a widespread chronic pain condition that represents a significant economic burden for patients and health care systems. Effective treatment of FM requires a multidisciplinary management strategy that incorporates pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapy. Steps such as reducing the time to diagnosis and improving treatment decisions can result in significant cost savings and improved patient outcomes. An FM management framework, based on patient education and goal setting, has emphasized the need for ongoing care of patients with FM. In this article, we discuss how this framework could be further improved through the use of health information technology, including electronic health records. Health information technology/electronic health records can be incorporated at every stage of patient care, from initial presentation to diagnosis, through to making treatment decisions and maintaining ongoing patient management. This can lead to a number of potential benefits for patients with FM (by improving their level of care), primary care providers (by creating greater efficiencies), and the health care system (by reducing costs). Ultimately, the treatment and care of patients with FM need be no more burdensome to primary care providers than any other chronic illness. Through the greater efficiencies and optimized treatment approaches facilitated by health information technology/electronic health records, it should be possible to drive best-practice care for patients with FM and improve patient outcomes.

Keywords: fibromyalgia; pain management; electronic health records; technology