How Electronic Medical Records are Transforming the Healthcare Industry
Back in the day before technology revolutionized the medical record-keeping industry, everything was done on physical paper which required more resources for bookkeeping and storage. The EMR (electronic medical records), also known as EHR (electronic health records) is here to stay. the obvious digital solution to maintaining patient data over time and from facility to facility. Despite their advantages, reactions to the current EMR technology have been mixed.
Some of the key features of an EMR system include:
- Organize and store important patient information such as medical history, medications, past illnesses and treatments, immunization records, radiology images, lab results, and any other data that is pertinent to a patient’s medical conditions and history.
- Provides access to real-time patient data and gives medical professionals better information to make decisions about care and treatments.
- Integrates with other key processes such as claims and billing.
- Offers the ability to scan and share documents securely.
- Tracks medications and provides options for e-prescriptions.
- Sends out automated appointment reminders to patients.
Compliance with the HITECH Act requires medical practices to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs. This implies e-prescribing, data sharing and demonstrable proof that a practice’s use of EHRs has resulted in improvement in patient care.
While most medical professionals wouldn’t wish to transition back to paper-only records and agree that an electronic health records system helps to improve safety, decrease the potential for medication errors, and help to facilitate collaboration with other clinicians, there are still issues with adoption.
To help administrators choose the right system for their facility, we have compiled a guide that compares the top vendors for EMR management solutions across a variety of price points.
Before you begin sorting various solutions by feature and price, however, take a quick look at this list of the five ways in which EHR/EMR are transforming the healthcare industry. Knowing the most significant changes these software systems are apt to be the catalyst for can help you shape your shortlist of required features and options.
- Improving patient care, overall.
Everyone knows the phrase “Information is power,” but there are few industries in which it rings as true as it does in the healthcare industry. EHR/EMR systems ensure that clinicians have access to the most information possible about each and every patient.
No longer does one have to set up a preliminary appointment and request a transfer/copy of physical records which may or may not occur in a timely manner. With a few clicks, a patient’s information is at the fingertips of their provider.
For example, the physician will have access to the type of information required to avoid any unfavorable drug interactions or even directly transmit the prescription to a pharmacy using the e-prescriptions function in an EMR system. This information results in improved patient care, overall.
- Increasing the participation of patients in their care.
Patient participation is built upon a foundation of good information and good communication. When a doctor knows the right questions to ask, and the right avenues to pursue, it’s far easier to get patients gainfully engaged in their care. Top EHR/EMR software provides professionals with the information they need to open with the most productive questions with their clients to lead to a diagnosis, which in turn increases the participation of patients in their own care.
- Facilitation of care coordination between facilities/clinicians.
By maintaining patient records in the cloud, where they can be accessed by authorized providers, every member of a patient’s care team—whether or not they are located in the same facility—can coordinate effectively.
There’s a reduced risk of medication interactions, misdiagnoses, and professionals undermining one another with conflicting treatments thus, endangering the patient’s life. When clinicians have access to EHR/EMR system, care coordination is greatly facilitated.
- Better patient prognoses.
EHR/EMR results in improved diagnostics, which in turn results in improved patient outcomes. The faster patients are accurately diagnosed, the sooner they can begin appropriate treatment and the less likely it is that further complications will develop to disrupt the patient’s ability to heal. Complete, precise patient histories go a long way toward improving patient prognoses.
- Increased resource efficiency.
A majority of healthcare professionals assert that EHR/EMR systems improve their efficiency as a practice and result in cost savings. There are many reasons for this, including effective recruiting of new physicians, more efficient prescribing, improved speed in receiving lab results, and an easier approach to regulatory compliance in terms of data confidentiality.
EMR/EHR systems provide automated solutions to numerous time-consuming tasks:
- Costs related to pulling charts, storing physical records, and re-filing charts
- Massive improvements in medical coding, leading to more efficient reimbursement and better documentation in the event of less common/more costly/more complex treatments
- A reduction in medical errors which require timely correction
However, there’s a general dissatisfaction with the systems used to manage EHR, a widespread feeling that the new methods have disrupted established workflow patterns, complaints about flaws, and perhaps most revealingly—a pervasive belief that higher-ups have chosen the wrong system for their staff, often due to a lack of understanding of the daily tasks faced by nurses and doctors and the desire to choose an online medical records system based solely on monetary cost rather than the solution’s ability to address the challenges faced by that particular organization.
When trying to decide on what electronic medical records system is right for your business, it is important to understand who will be using this; usually, an EMR system will be used most often by nurses, lab technicians, and physicians. It is important to select an EMR system option that will be easy to use for everyone involved and to train everyone appropriately.
There’s nothing worse than purchasing a fancy EMR/EHR system that is not user-friendly to your staff and in turn, doesn’t provide the ultimate service that was expected.
While EMR/EHR software solutions may still pose challenges during transition, their advantages are clear. Find your preferred EMR system vendor today using our handy EMR Buyer’s Guide.