The primary electronic medical records benefits are to both save cost and improve patient care. The advantages of electronic medical records goes beyond the cost savings. EMR medical software implementation provides several other benefits which we will discuss here.
There are several uses for patient medical records which benefit from the advantages of electronic medical records. EMR medical records are used not only to document patient care, but also research, quality monitoring, legal, and financial purposes. Electronic medical records benefits these functions by making it easier to share this information with the parties who need it.
In addition there is a tremendous cost and time saving associated with the administrative work in accessing and sharing these records. No more looking up file folders, making copies, insuring the paper copies are secure, and insuring the paper records are securely sent to the other party.
Below are some of the many electronic medical records benefits:
- Cost savings through efficiency. Reduced administrative tasks like searching and waiting for information that you have with paper based medical records. Cost savings are also realized by the reduced space and storage of paper records and the labor of managing them.
- Cost savings in knowing a patient’s medical history, tests, etc. can eliminate the need for duplicate tests. Another advantage is knowing what treatments have been administered before.
- The quality and accuracy of patient care is improved as electronic medical records have improved legibility and accuracy. Having complete, accurate, legible, and organized medical records is a significant advantage of electronic medical records over paper. This reduces the potential for errors and omissions resulting in improved patient care. Accurate and up-to-date patient information is key to treating a patient.
- Electronic medical records benefits the ability to identify drug allergies and interactions.
- The ability to electronically send patient prescriptions to the pharmacy. Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) allows physicians to transmit drug prescriptions electronically to the pharmacy. This also greatly reduces the likely of adverse drug effects and handwriting and transcription errors – and the delays these can cause.
- Financial incentives from the federal government for implementing electronic medical records as part of the HITECH Act.
- The capability to access patient records by more than one user.
- Improved security of medical records by allowing only those authorized or with a need to know the access to medical records. Access to the EMR medical software is logged and provides an audit trail documenting who accessed the system and when.
- Potential for reduced malpractice premiums. There are insurance carriers who will reduce a providers malpractice premiums when an EMR system is implemented.
- Ability to query and sort data quickly in a flexible format. This is a significant advantage of electronic medical records over paper records. Being able to perform searches is pretty much impossible with paper records.
- Up to date patient information. No delay in waiting for information to be entered or transcribed. Test results can be entered into the EMR system and available as soon as complete.
- Integration with other systems such as medical billing or practice management software allowing patient and treatment information to be linked or transmitted for creating insurance claims and patient statements.
- Easy to share medical records with other healthcare providers contributing to improved quality of care and decision making.
- Promotes evidence based medicine by providing access to large amounts of clinical information. This contributes to the knowledge of medical procedures and practices collectively. However these advantages of electronic medical records may only be realized when the different systems – and there are many – can easily share information.The adoption of standards in sharing EMR information would greatly help.
- Getting patient records to a new provider is another electronic medical records benefits. With paper medical records, when a doctor retired, closed their practice, died, or moved the patient records are typically not easily accessed. The advantage of electronic medical records makes it easier for patients to get access to these records and getting them to their new provider.
Electronic medical records benefits go beyond the initial economic savings and contribute to the improvement of the collective healthcare system. The advantages of implementing electronic medical records improves the quality of care for the specific patient as well and can eventually be a key to keeping the healthcare costs of society in general under control.