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Electronic Health Records: Benefits and Drawbacks

Healthcare organizations have shifted from paper-based document management to electronic health records management systems. You will no longer find a doctor’s office crammed with file cabinets or hundreds of staff with the duty to find the latest information. Healthcare benefits from advancing digital establishments and innovations in the digital age. The electronic health record has transformed healthcare by improving the practices of doctors, hospitals, and clinics. Health facilities have become collaborative, where different health professionals work together in real-time to provide the best care to patients.

Medical practice owners understand how important it is to provide the right tools for service delivery. Health practitioners have improved morale and high productivity when relying on convenient digital systems such as EHR. Healthcare institutions are investing significantly in technology, data, processes, and leadership to improve service delivery and take advantage of the systems created to improve healthcare. Discover the electronic medical records pros and cons.

What is Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

Electronic Health Records (EHR) is software that facilitates a structural way of storing and sharing crucial patient data in a healthcare facility. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), EHR is the digital version of a patient’s medical data stored and maintained by the healthcare provider. It may include fundamental clinical data of an individual relevant to the care they receive in a facility. It is a digital version of real-time patient-oriented records and patient cards that contain secure but instant accessible data for authorized users. The information is stored on hard storage with a backup on the cloud for safety purposes. Healthcare professionals are relying on digital patient information, with some facilities embarking on data entry for patients who initially had their information on hard-copy files. Before making the hefty investment, stakeholders need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of EHR.

Benefits of Electronic Health Records

Like any new digital revitalization of old practices, the EHR system is designed to make organizing, storing, and editing health records faster, easier, and more efficient. The benefits of EHR cut across all healthcare organizations intending to streamline clinical and organizational outcomes. The following are the advantages of EHR:

1. Improved Healthcare Quality

Traditionally, physicians have distinct handwriting, which increases the risk of misinterpretation and errors during critical care. With computerized records, everything the physician notes is legible for all professionals. Medical orders cannot be misinterpreted and received in good time. The quality of care in hospitals has improved with EHR with the improved accuracy of documentation and quicker actions with automated alerts for potential risks. The EHR helps professionals to track and manage medications and makes preventive care easier to implement. All practitioners will follow evidence-based clinical guidelines with the support of EHR systems and help make point-of-care decisions.

2. Faster Order Initiation

Health practitioners state that time is essential when treating patients in critical care because of the response window of medications. When a health facility uses the EHR system, the physician can immediately place laboratory and imaging work orders. The orders are sent through the system so that the sonographers and radiographers are ready when the patient gets to their office. On other occasions, the patient’s order is prepared before they arrive at the pharmacy.

3. Convenience and Efficiency

The medical and administrative staff do not have to wade through a pile of files and paperwork to find patient information. They can access patient information faster and more efficiently with the necessary authorization. EHRs are beneficial to the provider and the patient in different ways. EHR improves organizational efficiency, saves space, and cuts down on labor for the provider. The EHR contains a portal for every patient, with a medical history and records for the patient to access. This eliminates the time and resources spent locating, copying, and sharing files with patients if they request. Furthermore, it improves patient satisfaction by reducing hospital staff’s time to respond to a patient’s request for drug refills.

Drawbacks of Electronic Health Records

Along the many advantages of EHR come various disadvantages, including frightening patients, inaccurate data, time and money, and concerns for malpractice liability.

1. Concerns for Malpractice Liability

When implementing an EHR system, you open the door to liability concerns, including ensuring that medical data is not lost or destroyed when transferring hard copy files to electronic data. If the records are inaccurately entered, the errors could lead to serious medical and treatment errors. Physicians who cannot access accurate medical data are liable for the patient’s health.

2. Cybersecurity Issues

All digital systems across the board are vulnerable to cyberattacks. It is lucrative for hackers who trade such information in the black market. Every organization should guard its systems and update its firewalls to keep hackers away from the system.

3. Hefty Investment

Setting up an EHR system for an institution or ordering a complete switch from paper to digital records is expensive. Furthermore, it takes time for a comprehensive custom medical software development to complete. Most facilities have to sit with EHR vendors to decide on a package they would purchase and how it would be rolled over. You will need to take time to train your staff for greater efficiency.

Conclusion

Electronic health records are valuable to healthcare providers and patients. The EHR system benefits include improving healthcare quality, convenience and greater efficiency. The drawbacks include high initial capital, cybersecurity issues, and malpractices. With the changing framework of the world, digital systems are taking over every sector to improve it and make it more efficient. EHR has revolutionized healthcare.

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