How Have Electronic Medical Records Systems Changed Healthcare?

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Electronic Medical Records (or EMR) systems have become increasingly common in recent years as a method of storing patients’ medical records digitally. There is a slight, yet important, difference between an EMR and an EHR (Electronic Health Records) system: while EMRs are digital records of a patient’s history with one specific practice, EHRs are comprised of a patient’s medical history and records from multiple doctors and are therefore a more complete view of a patient. 

The two terms are often used interchangeably, and much of what we discuss in this article will apply to both EMRs and EHRs, but it is important to note the distinction.

More Bespoke Treatment for Patients

Because EMR systems store a patient’s history, it becomes easier for practitioners to access and factor in this information into their treatment of the patient. It also means that if a patient requires emergency care at a hospital, staff at that hospital can request access to that patient’s EMRs from their practice, meaning that they have more information and knowledge about the health of the patient that they are treating. 

In addition, many EMRs use technology to automatically register any potential issue with, for example, a new medication that a patient may have been prescribed, by checking the patient’s medical history for signs that this medication may not be best for them. 

The use of EMR systems has resulted in improved outcomes for patients in the majority of practices where they have been used.

Benefits for Public Health

EMR systems allow health care providers to assess health trends among wider populations. For example, certain illnesses and conditions can be searched for, enabling trends to be identified and potentially linked to certain factors such as age, sex, weight, geographic location, pre-existing health conditions and medications.

In situations such as the current pandemic, systems like these can be vital in identifying public health trends in localised areas.

Administration and Efficiency Benefits

The effect of technology on the health care industry is vast. From e-rostering system software to EMRs and EHRs, efficiency has been increased due to many administration tasks becoming automated. This leaves practitioners able to focus on the important work of giving patients the care that they need rather than spending precious time managing their own workflows.

Portability and Flexibility

Many EMR systems and EHR systems are compatible with smartphones, meaning that health care providers can access them more quickly and easily. Research has shown that most health care providers use mobile devices in their daily routines. Thankfully, most EMR and HER systems have advanced security and access management features in place to ensure that this data remains with practitioners rather than being accessed by potential threats. 

EMR systems have made a significant impact on the health care industry, resulting in increased efficiency of operations as well as improved quality of care for patients. There seems to be little chance of this trend not continuing into the future, especially as these systems become more and more advanced and efficient over time!

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