What is EMR?
Advances in modern technology have allowed for a huge and much-anticipated change to the entire healthcare industry. Patients around the world can now access some of the best diagnostic tools, treatments, and IT systems that can streamline healthcare and establish a safer, more efficient manner of practice.
One modern idea that can be extremely beneficial for both patients and healthcare professionals alike is EMR. Paper medical records have never been totally efficient, and there are many risks that threaten to jeopardise a patient’s records that are hard to control without the use of technology. EMR has been implemented across many different platforms and centres, but what is EMR, and how does it work?
What is an electronic medical record?
EMR is an acronym that stands for electronic medical records. Electronic medical records are far more than a simple alternative to paper medical records, as they allow for far better communication and coordination amongst different healthcare professionals and departments to help provide the best possible service.
Electronic medical records usually contain basic information about your medical history, including treatment data and past medical history that has been collected by your medical practice. An EMR system acts as a central interface for all physicians to communicate and facilitate care.
In the modern world, electronic medical records are becoming standard; in fact, they’re slowly but surely becoming a part of a new government requirement that is centred around the safe collection, storage and access of patients’ medical data.
How do Electronic Medical Records work?
With medical knowledge increasing at a steady rate and the average patient living much longer, there’s a need to deal with a larger variety of chronic conditions and illnesses. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for a doctor to be aware of each and every patient’s medical data without accessing their medical records, so in order to properly address each individual’s needs, they must have such information readily available. That’s where EMR’s come in, as they act as a manner of maintaining patient medical data in an easily accessible form that all kinds of healthcare professionals can edit and add to. Paper records have several risks including a lack of general security as they can be easily tampered with, whereas electronic medical records offer far greater levels of safety.
EMR’s are constantly increasing in popularity, as it’s been reported that over three-quarters of physicians who responded to the 2014 National Physician Survey were regularly using electronic medical records.
Why are EMR’s Important in the Healthcare Technology Industry?
EMR’s can offer a range of benefits for healthcare professionals, the healthcare technology industry as a whole and things would no doubt be a lot different if they weren’t in wide use today.
Electronic medical records can help to save masses of space when compared with traditional paper records that would otherwise need to be physically stored somewhere on site. In the modern world, the population is constantly growing, each physician is bound to notice a steady rise in the total number of patients they take on each year – a rise in patients would mean a rise in patient records, and this might not have been previously possible without being able to access sufficient storage space.
By using electronic medical records, medical professionals can optimise their workflow and save huge amounts of time, as they’ll be able to access a patient’s medical records in just a few quick taps. The systems on which EMRs are hosted and stored are so easy to use, whereas a healthcare professional would have had to spend several minutes if not more searching to spot a specific paper record. Online, EMR’s are organised and stored efficiently for total ease of use, so all a doctor needs to do is enter a name or date of birth to pinpoint the patient’s data.
It’s fair to say that the use of electronic medical records can also help to reduce the likelihood of administrative difficulties as well as operational costs, as there will be no need for a data extraction by staff members whose role would have previously consisted of sorting through mounds of medical records to try and select those that match. Human error is also minimised with the usage of digital records, as the storage program itself has been thoroughly tested to make sure the code is free from bugs and errors.
Making the most of the EMR interface will allow healthcare professionals to communicate with one another, including but not limited to hospitals, medicinal pharmacies, testing labs and local physicians. All manner of medical data can be found in one easy to access location, which can cut out hours of wasted time spent waiting to retrieve data.
Electronic medical record systems can also provide clinical alerts and reminders that keep healthcare professionals in the loop and encourage them to provide their patients with the best possible service to suit their unique needs. It’s hard to remember every detail when there are many appointments each day, so having an EMR system to keep healthcare professionals informed and in the know is always beneficial.
A major bonus that electronic medical records can bring to the table is a much needed built-in safeguard that stops physicians from prescribing any kind of treatment or medication that might result in adverse effects such as an allergic reaction or hospitalisation. There are many patients who are at serious risk if they were to receive the wrong treatment for their condition, but this is something that can easily be tracked within an EMR.
Utilising EMR systems also provides access to more public health data systems including registries and even communication with disease databases, which can be extremely beneficial for physicians who are performing condition research for whatever reason.
EMR systems help to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities, engage patients and families, improve care coordination and public health and maintain privacy and security of patient health information.