Clipboard: NFL, eClinicalWorks enter 10-year deal for league-wide electronic records system

Courtesy photo/eClinicalWorks
Courtesy photo/eClinicalWorks

The National Football League announced Monday that it has partnered with eClinicalWorks of Westborough to create a single electronic health records system for all teams to improve treatment and research of injuries.

The league faces mounting pressure over whether it has done enough to protect players, particularly from head injuries linked to long-term brain damage. Deborah Kotz of the Globe staff writes:

Under a 10-year contract, the NFL will pay $7 million to $10 million for a system that would store X-rays, blood test results, physical exam notes, medications — even video clips documenting a game injury — in one online server that players and physicians could access from anywhere in the country.

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“It brings a continuity of care to players regardless of whether they switch teams or move to another state,” said Dr. Anthony Yates, president of the NFL Physicians’ Society and head team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The technology will also allow researchers to tap into the medical records with names removed to analyze a vast treasure trove of data and learn more about field conditions that raise the likelihood of ankle injuries or the types of concussions that are likely to lead to early dementia.

“In recent years there’s been a much sharper focus on concussions in football and other sports,” Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, said during a lecture he delivered last Thursday at Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers have made advances in understanding how critical it is for players to avoid multiple severe head impacts in close succession, but Goodell added, “there are still unanswered questions.”

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Globe staff covered the Goodell’s speech last week, during which the commissioner said the league’s rules and equipment play an important role in keeping players safe.

“I don’t believe it is winning at all costs,’’ Goodell said. “I believe it’s winning the right way.’’