Electronic Medical Record is becoming a standard for the advancing health sector. In an effort to enhance the quality of patient care across America, the US government requires patient data to be collected, stored and accessed in a certain manner.  Although EMRs were developed more than twenty years ago, it took a lot of time for this standard to be adopted by hospitals and clinics.  It is imperative for everyone entering the medical industry to be aware of what EMRs are.

The first prototype of EMRs was produced in the 1960’s.  In 1972, the first official EMR was introduced.  By 1991 EMR did not gain popularity even though it was endorsed.  Once the HIPAA law was enforced by Congress in 1996, the health industry adopted EMRs in their practices.  83% of doctors are using EMRs in their practices today.

EMRs perform the following functions:

  • Patient demographics
  • Scheduling
  • Charting patient encounters
  • E prescribe
  • Documentation management
  • Ordering laboratory and tests
  • Clinical decision support
  • Patient billing

How EMRs benefit practices?

EMRs are beneficial to healthcare firms across America in various ways. First off, EMRs monitor a patient’s diagnosis and treatment overtime.  Secondly, they identify patients who are due for routine health services. By making use of the patient’s data, EMRs set a benchmark against which they measure patients’ health for example their blood pressure. Additionally, EMRs are used to reduce medical errors, test duplication and delays in treatment.  By reducing medical errors practitioners find a significant decrease in their overall expenditure that is required to run their practice.  According to a study, providers saved on drug expenses and saw an improvement in the efficiency of radiologic diagnostics.  EMRs have upgraded the recording and reporting of billing services and reduced billing errors.

Patients, when receiving care from a hospital interact with a plethora of people from nurses to technicians. The collective information provided to each individual gives a deeper insight into the health of a patient. EMRs help to preserve every bit and piece of the valuable patient information to provide him valuable care and service. Information is saved and similar data is provided to all the concerned departments without it being tampered or misrepresented. This not only provides amazing coordination among the hospital’s staff but valuable time is saved up and transferring information from one person to another person is made easy significantly.

How EMRs benefit patients?

EMRs have benefitted patients in many ways too.  They help patients and their families become more involved in the healthcare process. Clinical summaries are mailed to patients within three business days.  These summaries consist of information on the care provided during the visit, medicines, follow up appointments and medical advice.  Additionally, the platform enables families to assist in patient care by providing links to related articles, videos and images that help patients to understand their health situation.  Patients are then able to make informed decisions about medical procedures and lifestyle adjustments.

How EMRs support patient safety?

In this era when most of the information has become digitized, it is the need of the hour to take measures to protect sensitive information which, if goes into the hands of the wrong person, can be detrimental to patients. Patient data should be protected, especially since it is said that healthcare information is way more dangerous in the hands of an embezzler than your bank account information. Having said that, the safety EMRs provide patients and practitioners with is perhaps its most endearing allure. Most healthcare companies that create an EMR, make security its key component and then establish other components. Important data is encrypted on the EMR so the risk of a data breach is reduced significantly.

Additionally, EMRs also backup patient data so in case valuable information is lost, then no need to worry because your EMR has probably automatically backed it up.

EMRs and EHRs

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are sometimes used interchangeably with EMRs.  However, there is a significant difference between the two.  EMRs are limited to information collected on an individual basis in one specific medical practice and to be used for the staff within that organisation.  Whereas, EHRs offer a more detailed history of patients who get treated at different facilities and offices so that they collaborate easily.  EHRs help share information at one office with another office so that all providers are involved.  EHR adoption will become the standard in the future because it permits care to be coordinated and treatment to be delivered quickly.

Therefore, EMRs are dramatically improving the efficiency of the healthcare industry.  They offer many benefits, some of which include faster patient care and quicker decision making responses from medical professionals.  EMRs are more valuable than paper records because they allow providers to track data over time.  EMRs and EHRs can save lives by reducing human errors.

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