Thursday, August 4, 2011

Will EHRs help physicians who have disabilities?

Electronic health records (EHRs) are being implemented all over the country in medical offices and in the hospital environment. Physicians who have disabilities may benefit from these computerized charts as long as the proper assistive technologies are available.

Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

When it comes to computers, AT can replace the keyboard and mouse with alternative devices such as the LOMAK keyboard, trackballs, joysticks, graphics tablets, touchpads, touch screens, foot mice, a microphone with speech recognition software, sip-and-puff input, switch access, and vision-based input devices, such as eye trackers which allow the user to control the mouse with their eyes.

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