The percentage of U.S. hospitals that rely entirely on paper records to document information on their patients now stands at 1 percent, down from 69 percent in 2003, according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

For more than two decades, hospitals and clinics have been working to digitize their medical records in tandem with companies that develop electronic health records (EHR) software. These records systems allow users at healthcare organizations to do everything from scheduling appointments to documenting information on patients in clinical settings to tracking the charges that end up on hospital bills. Several of the firms that develop medical records software have even introduced products designed to be used by patients and improve their healthcare experience.

As Xconomy reported last week, many in the healthcare industry believe that tools in the latter category, often referred to as “patient portals,” can improve patient-physician communication, and help both parties save time. Read the full story here.