Are EMRs making patient and physician's lives better?
Updated: Apr 24
As a physician or MOA who is constantly buried in patient medical records you might not have the time to recall all the benefits that EMRs have brought to patient medical welfare. If you are new to the profession and haven't been without an EMR it might be easy to overlook the advantages that EMRs have brought to you and your patients. Let's look at the three main advantages, and the benefits that they will bring in the near future.
SECURED, CLOUD BACKED-UP MEDICAL INFORMATION
Gone are the days of paper patient files that could be misfiled, misplaced, incorrectly coded or incomplete. Files that, based in filing cabinets, were easily accessible to anyone in the office or visible to anyone who could see a file left open on a desk or a counter. Now files are securely on computers with logins and less visible screens. Patient files are cloud based and backed up so if a computer is damaged or lost the patient file doesn't go with it. In Arya's case those medical records are hosted on HIPAA compliant servers based here in Canada. Secure. Backed up. Private.
"EMR systems are designed to store data accurately and to capture the state of a patient across time. It eliminates the need to track down a patient's previous paper medical records and assists in ensuring data is accurate and legible." (1)
INFORMATION FLOW BETWEEN MEDICAL FACILITIES
The old process of receiving lab results via fax and then sorting them in your patient file are gone (well mostly). Today faxes can be automatically received electronically, matched to a Patient ID number and automatically saved to the correct patient's file. No tedious sorting, scanning, printing or copying, just automated efficiency that saves administrative time. Whether it is lab results, physician referrals, consult notes, reports or even patient appointment reminder messaging. The information between medical practitioners and facilities can now flow quickly and seamlessly so physicians have everything they need to attend to their patient efficiently. EMRs work to reduce data replication by having only one modifiable file, which Is always up to date, and thus decreases the risk of lost paperwork.
PHYSICAL STORAGE AND ACCESSIBILITY
Paper patient records main issue was space and cost! Finding the space for hundreds or thousands of patient records, that needed to be kept for years or decades, took a lot of physical storage (inside or outside the clinic). Additionally, this created a significant expense for the clinic which far exceeded the costs of modern EMRs. The other downfall of paper records was that they weren't accessible unless you were in the office. Moving to EMRs both eliminated the need for storage while providing remote access to patient files so the physician or doctor could work from where they needed to (home, office, clinic, hospital, etc.)
These EMR advantages were the building blocks for making the transition from paper files. Now the question is; what's to come? Features like Telehealth, OCR text identification and patient portals to access their own records are some of the new features you will see in EMRs (like Arya).
Dr. Larry Allen is the medical director of advanced Heart Failure at the University of Colorado. In an interview with Health IT News he highlights some of these features coming to EMRs .
Video Originally Posted on Health IT News here: