The purpose of Electronic Health Records EHR is to consolidate medical records into digital documents. As a result, authorized individuals have access to real-time updates of patient records in a digital format. A patient’s medical records include information on their treatments and medical history as well as their radiological images, allergies, test results, and treatment plans. In addition to the above, they offer doctors and other healthcare professionals resources to aid in the formulation of treatment plans for their patients.
These are just a few advantages of EHR. An EHR system represents an extensive report of the patient’s overall health. EHRs are used to help physician’s practices manage all their clinical processes through integrated software that can be accessed from multiple desks and by different resources.
EHR system helps physicians to identify and maintain patient records while keeping the patient’s data, problems list, medication list, and patient history in one virtual repository. Physician practices should adopt EHRs because the benefits of electronic health records in the clinical setting are more than a necessity now than an option.
Electronic health records have the capability to establish the clinical rate of progress. Fewer medical errors, improved patient safety and greater support for clinical decision-making are some of the advantages of EHR.
Electronic Health Records Pros and Cons
There are a number of Electronic Health Records Pros and Cons that should be known to entail the productivity of the EHR system.
Pros of Electronic Health Records
1. Financial Opportunities
If your organization intends to use digital patient records, it needs to have a certified EHR. This is what Medicaid and Medicare require you to show for meaningful usage and in order to obtain the cash incentives offered by the government.
Practitioners who use an EHR system are provided with financial incentives for their compliance with value-based care.
2. Time-Saving Templates
One of the key advantages of electronic health records is the availability of pre-designed templates. For example, a patient seeing an oncologist would have quite different information typed in than a patient visiting an OB/GYN, thus using templates will help staff members verify they are entering the correct information before closing the updated record.
3. Patient Portal Improves Access
Activating your EHR system’s patient portal is a terrific approach to save time while also increasing patient involvement. A computer at home or a kiosk in your waiting area allows patients to input their own information, relieving them from having to fill out paper forms.
Cons of Electronic Health Records
1. Criminal Hackers
Using an EHR has the disadvantage of putting your IT department’s security measures through the wringer in order to keep critical data safe from criminal hackers.
A medical facility’s servers have been infected with malware by cybercriminals in this kind of attack. They use cryptocurrencies to disguise their traces and keep data hostage until they get payment, generally in bitcoin. The practice’s image might be tarnished if the general public learns about the data leak.
2. Developer Cease to Provide Timely Updates
Another possible con of deploying an EHR system into your practice would be a system that is not timely updated by the developer or on a regular basis.
3. Not Following the Best Practices of the Software Industry
When it comes to keeping up with current industry standards and regulatory mandates, the developers may be unable to do so. Choose an EHR software vendor that has been in business for a long time and has a solid track record.
Why still are some physician practices not switching to EHR?
Although most physicians understand the huge benefits of EHR. It is almost impossible for big providers to keep track of hundreds of thousands of patients getting information from hundreds of different sources and paper charts. For most of the clinical data, physician practices have to wait for the physical records to reach their table, in another scenario they can easily fetch patient health records by entering patient record number (PRN) or Social Security number (SSN).
It still could have been possible for physicians to manage with paper charts but, that would mean seeing and curing lesser patients every day, mostly working late and spending more time in management.
Easier data retrieving with EHR
The data exchange is difficult with paper records. What is so great about the EHR is that the information is far more organized and easily shareable. Communication is faster and better. The patients are no more required to visit the laboratories to get the test reports, electronic availability of the results is saving time and effort.
EHR is a tool to deliver medical treatment quick and safe
The digital formation of records enables information to be used and shared over a secure system. It’s the electronic folder containing all the digital archives. This information is formatted digitally so it can be useable by an information system to do things like tracking care with statistics and graphs, issue warnings and reminders, and overall the system facilitates communication.
For example, in the process of creating the eligible and convenient electronic prescription, the electronic health care record system simultaneously updates which then alerts the doctor to pass it on to other departments.
It enables a safer and more reliable care process, enhancing the privacy and security of patients’ data. When information is standardized it can be used by the machine in an efficient way to help the patients. This program seeks to meet various goals and each of these goals has very specific objectives that the hospital and providers must meet.
Improved quality measures
To address quality and safety, certified EHR is able to automatically generate quality measures. This enables healthcare professionals to more easily standardized performance. EHR also helps the provider meet the quality measures targets using quality and safety alerts, reminders, patient registries, and directories of patients who may share the given diagnosis.
Further enhancing the capabilities of the care process, EHRs are able to integrate with laboratories and can submit data to public health agencies.
The widespread use of EHR has improved the health care system. Now healthcare providers are realizing the benefits of population health management through EHRs. EHR systems are compiling a richer set of data universally available at any time and any place.
The patient’s health care history is more organized
Standardized electronic healthcare data help public health care programs to keep pace with this faster and ever-increasing information load. It can reduce the need for data entry and save time. It can facilitate the reuse of information and analysis of that information. Most of all, managing patient history is easier with EHR.
Improved decision making
In clinical settings, EHR’s decision support system helps providers in taking the right decisions. When we combine the potential of clinical decision-making support with real-time communication in managing public health, we can observe fewer errors and more accurate clinical decisions.
Mostly the EHR systems prompt or alert with a warning if by any chance a physician is prescribing something which can be hazardous for the patient with certain allergies. This decision-support of EHR systems is hugely beneficial for health care providers.
EHRs are empowering physician practices
With fewer clicks on their computer screens, physicians are managing the care delivery process. EHR systems are huge time and money savers. Physicians are now more aware of the current medical situation of the patients and the easy availability of patient history has reduced the expense involved in repeated lab tests.
They can document the data and quickly, create a care plan very easily, all with the extensive information available through EHRs. EHR system has overall improved the clinical flow, making it more comfortable and faster.
Electronic health records are changing lives, decreasing the risks while enabling physicians to make quick medical decisions and providing treatments exactly according to the needs of the patient. They can now keep a check on previous health care data. The benefits of EHRs are immense. The system is helping physicians in various ways, fast-track care delivery processes, more control over the system, and has enabled rapid diagnosis and treatments.
The Bottom Line
With all of the Electronic Health Records pros and cons in mind, we’re certain that the risk is worth it. It’s significantly more efficient, safe, and long-lasting than maintaining records by hand. However, the initial cost of an EHR system is considerable, but the long-term advantages of EHR exceed the disadvantages.