In our society today, computers are ubiquitous. They have been used to simplify our lives and make our work easier and more accurate. In order to be a part of this fast spreading technology the medical industry is on its way to do away with the pen and paper system and embrace computers to keep and track patient medical records, hence electronic health record.
When an individual goes to his or her doctor with a complaint the doctor will obtain information from the patient in an attempt to build a complete story of the origin and probable causes of the complaint. Information obtained from the patient will include the patients past and present medical history, laboratory results, previous medical conditions and medications prescribed, radiological images etc., all make up the patients medical records. This information when put in a digital format is known as the individual’s electronic health record.
The present administration has made it a priority to move ahead with centralizing and putting patients’ medical record in digital format. A huge chunk of the economic recovery stimulus package has been earmarked for this project. It is hoped that when all is said and done, electronic medical records, a better way to keep records than pen and paper will be the order of the day.
Just like any new approach to doing things, EHR (Electronic Health Records) has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of Electronic medical record keeping includes:-
Doctors are legendary for illegible hand writings leading to inaccurate data entry by a second or third party. With EHR this problem will mostly become a thing of the past.
It is hoped that the use of EHR will reduce healthcare cost in the long run and promote evidence based care. As information is readily available, and easily and quickly referred to before proceeding with the best treatment option, resources will be saved as the patient’s sick period is reduced.
Huge amounts of information can be stored in digital format taking up a minuscule amount of space thereby eliminating file storage problems that presently exists with the pen and paper system.
Easy retrieval of information
With information in a digital format it is fast and easy to retrieve information saving time and manpower. With patients medical records just a mouse click away, Individuals previously involved in locating and retrieving files will be redeployed to other positions.
Reduced malpractice insurance premiums
With the legible and accurate documentation an electronic health record system provides, insurance companies tend to reduce malpractice premium for institutions using EHR system. Also in cases of litigation the information trail is easy to follow and will make a difference in the outcome of a case if things were ambiguous.
Increased level of medical care
With the patients complete medical record a few clicks away, a physician has immediate access to the patient’s medical information allowing for a faster and better response to providing medical care.
Accurate record keeping
EHR makes it easy to keep accurate records of who has access to patient’s information, when it was accessed and by whom. And when alterations are made to a patients record you can find out who altered it and when.