Electronic Medical Records are the bedrock of our healthcare system today. Without a free-flowing system that allows patient information, medical records and other vital data to be shared quickly and efficiently, healthcare professionals would be at a significant disadvantage. When budgets are stretched, resources are in short supply and staffing levels creating challenges for hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country, the technology that helps support and facilitate streamlined healthcare must be at the cutting edge. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the future might hold for EMR technology over the next twelve months.
What is EMR and how does it work?
In the good old days, patient and medical records were written by hand and stored in dusty old filing cabinets. Did a patient move from one hospital to another for continued care? Or has the patient moved from one GP surgery to another? What used to follow was a long, time-consuming process involving stamps and the post office. Today we rely (admittedly still with a bit of supporting paperwork) on a far more sophisticated system that is capable of transferring data instantly from one location to another and store vast amounts of information that can be accessed instantly by the healthcare professional most in need of supporting their patient’s care with it.
What are the benefits of EMR technology?
The move to a digital system has revolutionized healthcare for both the physician and the patient alike. The most significant benefit is of course, the increased speed with which we can access information, but this is not the only advantage. Medical notes are notoriously difficult to read and handwriting can make important data tricky to decipher which can lead to dosage and prescription issues; digital medical notes do away with this problem. EMR systems encourage far better communication between healthcare professionals across various locations and in the best interests of their patients.
Security is always improving and with digital records being regularly backed up and enjoying the latest cybersecurity strategies, medical records are safer than ever and far less likely to get lost.
Better technology will offer increasingly more useful patient-related medical data to providers. We can expect to see tailored healthcare plans, dental solutions, eyecare plans and health insurance offerings as information becomes easier to share and more patient-centric.
The future of EMR technology
Increasingly we are seeing mobile devices allowing medical professionals to access data anywhere leading to better decision making in the field. Not only can healthcare professionals access and update information from wherever they are, but they can also share life-saving notes directly with the receiving hospital or clinic before the patient even arrives.
Patients are also becoming increasingly empowered as digital devices and the Internet of Everything (IoT) collide with the latest EMR systems to create a potential future healthcare system that is fully connected. Devices such as the Fitbit, Apple watch and Google based devices are increasingly deploying more sophisticated health monitoring technology. We are seeing consumer level heart rate technology that can identify arrhythmia, blood oxygen level monitoring (alerting users to sleep apnea) and general wellness signals such as temperature, blood pressure and even stress levels. And as these devices become even more sophisticated and are tied directly to healthcare and EMR systems, we can expect to see an explosion in connected healthcare opportunities and a digital revolution in how we deliver the best outcomes for patients.