When patients visit the doctors or access their healthcare facilities, it can often seem like a smooth, seamless process – once you’ve secured your appointment, it’s a case of attending and receiving the care that you require.
However, on the healthcare professional’s side, it’s their job to make sure that all that relevant information regarding your case is ready and accessible as soon as required, as well as making sure that all information is correct and up to date.
With hundreds, if not thousands of other patients to take care of, healthcare professionals across the full spectrum of institutions utilize the same system to organize important information: Electronic Medical Records or EMRs.
Read on to find out more about how EMRs are improving through advances in technology and how this may affect your experience when accessing healthcare.
What are EMR Systems?
In recent decades, healthcare professionals have been making the transition to EMRs from traditional paper filing. In the US, the first prototypes were produced in the 1970s, but only since the early 2000s has there been significant funding for healthcare IT systems allowing for widespread installation.
EMRs have significantly improved information storage and communication between healthcare professionals and carry out a multitude of functions such as:
- Interoffice communications
- Patient registration
- Allocation of prescriptions
- Managing all documents
- Scheduling for patients and staff
Before investments into healthcare IT systems, all of these functions were performed using paper, meaning sensitive and important information regarding patient wellbeing was subject to all of the flaws that come with thousands of paper documents.
Even with the introduction of these systems decades ago, EMRs are still improving today.
What do EMR improvements mean for you?
One of the main issues with current EMR systems is the lack of interoperability, in that it’s difficult for professionals at different institutions to quickly and easily transfer patient information to another EMR.
EMR improvements aim to standardize your patient information so that it is all in one place and easily accessible by all. This means that your healthcare professionals can share information, such as your doctor being able to see that you have started working with a psychologist in Johannesburg, and requesting information regarding medical prescriptions.
How is technology improving EMR?
Moving healthcare documentation onto computer-based systems brought a lot of benefits, including increased security, more organized files, and greater efficiency across the board.
However, there were still complaints about older or outdated systems being slow, prone to errors, and time-consuming to use – so how is this changing now?
Well, it appears that EMR software will be switching from a volume-based care model to a value-based care model, which will function by quantifying patient outcomes and lowering medical costs.
The emergence of virtual assistants has also begun to impact the medical sector, with possibilities including helping doctors with their workflow and big tech encouraging further innovations.
There has been a big push to optimize EMRs for mobile devices, as statistics show that the vast majority of medical appointments are booked through the phone – mobile EMRs could free up doctors’ time and mean that all of your information is quick and easy to access and update.