An electronic health record (EHR) system is primarily a digital handler of patient health records. The system electronically stores patient health records and is most capable of sharing it with other integrated systems. EHRs are now smart enough to not only handle patient health information rather integrates with a patient portal, record billing information and are capable of submitting the payment claims. These are just a few benefits of electronic health records.
An EHR system represents an extensive report of the patient’s overall health. EHRs are used to help physicians 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’s record while keeping the patient’s data, problems list, medication list and patient’s 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.
What are the benefits of EHR over paper charts?
|Paper Charts||Electronic Health Records|
|Paper charts spread across different healthcare facilities are most of the time incomplete. Resulting in repetitive medical treatments and tests.||EHR provides accurate and up to date information and allow easy access to complete records and patient history.|
|Sharing paper charts of patient’s medical history over fax or Email is time-consuming and involves hardware dependencies.||EHR enables providers to electronically exchange medical records for more coordinated and efficient care.|
|While using paper charts physicians can access medical files of a patient only in office hours and at limited location.||EHR facilitates physicians to access medical records from anywhere at any time.|
|The paper consumption of healthcare industry is huge. Using tons of papers per year creates environmental damage and storage issues.||With EHR, patient’s history can be easily tracked reducing the cost and space through decreased paperwork. EHR requires less personal time and virtual space.|
|Paper charts tend to fade and deteriorate over time. It can be damaged by natural disaster e.g. fire or flood. It can be stolen or lost by damage to the facility.||While the EHR can be safely stored because of the cloud computing, and are less prone to damage or loss.|
|Medical professionals keep only one copy of medical paper records of patients. In case of losing it means the record is gone forever. It would result in duplication of testing and wastage of money and time.||EHR reduces medical errors and keeps the records safe. Electronic health records are more reliable with enhanced privacy and security of patient’s data.|
EHR is a change that is transforming the whole medical system. Electronic health record (EHR) system systemically collects patients’ health information in organized digital archives.
Why still some physician practices are not switching to EHR?
Although most of the 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 the 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 efforts.
EHR is a tool to deliver medical treatment quick and safe
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 use-able by an information system to do things like tracking care with statistic and graphs, to 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 safer and more reliable care process, enhancing privacy and security of patient’s 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 have 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 health care 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. 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.
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 the clinical settings, EHRs 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 a 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 have reduced the expense involved in repeated lab tests. They can document the data and quickly, create a care plan very easily, and 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.