June 21, 2011 / 11:13 PM / 8 years ago

Doctors seek standardized patient records

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The country’s largest physicians’ group adopted policies on Tuesday calling for easier-to-use electronic patient records and better nutrition in prisons, but put off recommending a tax on sugary soft drinks.

Delegates to the American Medical Association, which has 216,000 members, considered resolutions ranging from urging advertisers to stop altering photographs of models to advocating for the standardization of computerized records.

Physicians reported having a hard time accessing information in the brave new world of Electronic Medical Record systems (EMRs), the group said, so it will lobby hospitals and health care systems to make changes.

“Standardized EMR interface designs will help physicians working at multiple facilities with different EMR systems better navigate and use EMRs to help their patients,” said AMA board member Dr. Steven Stack.

The AMA also weighed in on menu planning for the nation’s 2.3 million prison inmates, who it said could benefit from more nutritious foods to help avoid chronic diseases.

“Various challenges exist in providing affordable, palatable and low security-risk foods for inmates that will also meet their nutritive needs,” said the AMA’s Dr. Barbara McAneny.

The resolution recommended implementing dietary guidelines in prisons and jails.

Advertisers were reprimanded by the group for creating unrealistic body image expectations among impressionable children by altering photographs.

“In one image, a model’s waist was slimmed so severely, her head appeared to be wider than her waist,” said McAneny.

A resolution that would have the AMA lobby for a 1 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages — aimed at lowering the 50 gallon per capita U.S. consumption of soft drinks — was put off for further study.

Reporting by Andrew Stern

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