5 Reasons Electronic Medical Records Benefit Both Doctors and PatientsNovember 21st, 2014
Electronic medical records are fast becoming standard. As of last year, 78% of office-based physicians used some type of EMR software; that’s up from only 18% in 2001. Part of that change is probably due to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, which provide monetary incentives for certain kinds of implementation. But the other reason is simply that physicians are seeing the many benefits electronic health records offer both doctors and patients. Here are five to consider:
- Better Patient Care
Having a patient’s information at their fingertips at all times (and on multiple devices, with web based electronic medical records) allows doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and better care recommendations. EMRs can also reduce errors, whether they’re due to a lack of information or the messy handwriting that plagues nearly all handwritten records. Electronic records even keep track of prescriptions and allergies and automatically alert doctors as to potential negative interactions.
- Healthcare Provider Cooperation
Electronic records allow various healthcare providers to collaborate, both inside and outside a practice. Nurses, doctors and lab techs can easily share information gathered across visits. And the benefits don’t stop at an individual practice’s doors: an emergency room doctor, for example, could pull up a patient’s electronic record and learn of a serious long-term condition even if that patient were in a coma. There are extensive security measures encoded in EMR software to ensure that only qualified people with the correct permissions can view files, so there’s no increased risk.
- Clinical Data Collection
Standardizing and digitizing records allows for much better data collection to be used in epidemiology and research. This in turn can lead to more evidence-based policy decisions and more effective treatments, benefiting national (and in some cases global) health.
- Increased Efficiency
Electronic records streamline the system through features like e-prescribing and lab result sharing. In fact, it’s been shown that EHR systems can lead to a 6% annual increase in efficiency. That efficiency leads to cost savings for practices. Patients can also see decreased costs because providers are less likely to re-order tests that have been performed elsewhere.
- EMR Practice Management
Complete EMR practice management software can do more than track patient information. It can be integrated with medical billing systems and appointment software, cutting down on office labor costs and ensuring smooth and well-documented payment handling. And best of all, reducing these administrative tasks frees up more time for doctors to actually spend tending to patients or adding to their medical knowledge.
What are some other reasons to consider complete EMR practice management systems? Add your thoughts in the comments.