What’s all the fuss about electronic medical records? What are the benefits of using electronic medical records (EMR) software in medical practices and hospitals? For years, we’ve heard about a paperless society, and that’s what electronic health care records and EMR software are all about. Electronic health records provide numerous advantages, including cost savings, more comprehensive and centralized medical records, the ability to back up electronic health records to prevent data loss, and faster access to vital medical information in the event of a medical emergency, which could save a patient’s life.
EMR software has the ability to automate processes that were previously manual and time-consuming, allowing any hospital or medical practice to increase productivity. EMR software, for example, eliminates the need for paper medical records to be kept in filing cabinets, where they may be misfiled or even lost. Each patient’s electronic health care record is accessible with EMR software at the click of a mouse.
Most patients are concerned about privacy and security when it comes to electronic medical records. In the mid-2000s, financial institutions paved the way for secure transaction systems, so the hard work of ensuring security and privacy has already been completed and proven. To ensure patients’ privacy in the medical arena, EMR systems can use policies, guidelines, and monitoring systems that have been proven in the financial arena.
Companies in the United States will be able to provide secure EMR systems and help drive the over-haul of the United States Health System if additional Federal funding is funneled into the establishment of EMR infrastructure (device, network, and applications).
How Do Patient-Provider Institutions Begin Using Electronic Medical Records (EMR)?
Scanning archived patient records and preparing them for inclusion in an electronic medical record system is the first step in converting any paper medical system to an EMR. In most cases, this work is delegated to a qualified medical scanning service bureau. For the conversion of paper files to digital files, a qualified medical scanning service bureau will follow all HIPPA guidelines.
Patient data can be entered directly into EMR software solutions, and they can work in tandem with diagnostic systems to boost office productivity even more. The data is more accurate due to the lack of paper and the ability to enter information directly into the EMR software. Because the information is typed in and easily readable, deciphering illegible handwriting is much easier. Hospitals and medical practices that use EMR software also pay lower malpractice management systems vs EMR insurance premiums. Patients can even use a website to access their electronic health records and schedule appointments.
Electronic health records (EHRs) are not without critics, particularly privacy advocates. EMR software makes remote access to electronic health care records and even disseminating a person’s entire medical history as simple as sending and receiving email. Privacy advocates are concerned about the ease with which electronic health records can be accessed.
They argue that employers and insurance companies have too much access to private information, which they can use to make discriminatory decisions. Insurance companies may refuse coverage to people they deem to be at high risk based on data from electronic health records. Similarly, medical information may be used by employers to make hiring and/or promotion decisions. Individuals with a history of substance abuse issues may be denied employment or promotions, for example.
Electronic health care records, like many other technological advancements, have two sides to the story. On the one hand, EMR software can boost productivity and lower costs. While supporters argue that electronic health records are too accessible and ripe for abuse by employers and insurance companies, detractors argue that they save lives. It remains to be seen who will emerge victoriously.