Advantages of Electronic Medical Records
- Improved Diagnosis and Treatment
- Faster Care from Healthcare Professionals
- Faster Transfer of Patient Data
- Better Safety for Patient Records
- Reduced Cost
Although the concept of electronic medical records has been around for many years, they really didn’t get going fully until the 2000s. In 2014, they were mandated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act along with the Affordable Care Act. Electronic medical records are a digital version of what used to be traditional paper files and have almost completely replaced them in healthcare facilities. While some medical facilities combine electronic medical records with conventional paper files, the goal is for all healthcare providers to convert 100% to the use of electronic medical records. EMRs offer many benefits to both the patient and the healthcare professionals.
1. Improved Diagnosis and Treatment
Improved diagnoses and treatment is one of the main benefits of electronic medical records. When a patient visits a doctor, the doctor only has to look into the system to see every healthcare provider the patient has seen in that facility. The doctor also has instant access to every treatment or test the patient may have had recently or in the past. Having all this knowledge of the patient instantly makes it easier to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Electronic medical records also make it easier for healthcare providers to monitor a patient’s condition and know when they’re in need of treatment or other health care according to HealthIT.gov.
2. Faster Care from Healthcare Professionals
Electronic medical records provide for faster care from healthcare professionals because the patient’s medical history is instantly accessible. In the past, if a patient saw several doctors in one day, the information from one doctor was not available to the other doctor for hours or even days. With electronic medical records, the information is available as soon as it is entered into the system. This often makes it possible for a patient to see several doctors in one day as opposed to spread out over several days.
3. Faster Transfer of Patient Data
The ability to transfer medical data faster is another huge benefit because doctors have instant access to a patient’s condition as well as any treatment or medication the patient may have recently received. This eliminates the possibility of double dosing a patient or giving patients repeated tests if the patient is unable to communicate. The doctor doesn’t need to worry about the patient’s health information not yet being available because it’s transferred into the system as soon as it is entered.
4. Better Safety for Patient Records
Electronic medical records are safer and more secure than traditional paper files. Despite old file cabinets being kept under lock and key, they were still left out where they could be lost or stolen or destroyed in a fire. EMRs are not only stored on the computer system but also available online. Even if one computer was destroyed, the electronic medical records are still up there “in the clouds”. This is especially important for keeping with HIPAA confidentiality laws.
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5. Reduced Cost
Entering electronic medical records into a centralized system is not only faster but also more cost-effective than manually writing up a patient’s medical history. Traditionally, when a patient visited a doctor, the doctor and nurse would write up his or her notes, the billing department manually created and sent out the bill. Often this information was duplicated. It often had to be done manually, printed out and copied. This often required transcriptionists, receptionists and medical billers, which cost money and often overtime. Electronic medical records save a lot of these costs.
With healthcare being such a huge topic today, along with the need to provide quality healthcare to everyone, electronic medical records have become a major step to implementing the best care for everyone. The many benefits of electronic medical records have made them a necessity in every medical facility.