Medical practices, regardless of size or medical speciality, have been adopting medical software to manage their patients and care providers for the past decade. As a result, the advantages of Electronic Health Records are becoming more widely recognised, and their use is increasing. The ongoing pandemic makes it all the more important to have a means that provides an immediate and alternative solution to the classic pen and paper way of keeping the records.
What are Electronic Health Records?
Electronic Health Records is a system that converts a patient’s medical records into digital documents. They are digitally stored, up-to-date patient records that authorised individuals can access in real-time. They include information such as a patient’s medical history, prescriptions, allergies, radiological pictures, treatment plans, and test findings. They also provide physicians and care providers with tools to assist them in making decisions about a patient’s treatment.
Why are Electronic Health Records Important?
Keeping the health record in a digital way has numerous benefits with the most essential one being the ability to exchange information without physical contact.
Some other benefits of these Electronic Health Records are mentioned below:
- Improvement in all the elements of patient care, including safety, efficacy, patient-centeredness, communication, education, timeliness, efficiency, and equity, to provide better healthcare.
- Better health through encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles, such as increasing physical exercise, improving nutrition, avoiding behavioural hazards, and using preventative care more widely.
- Electronic Health Records also help in leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies and carrying out predictive care.
- Improved efficiency and lower healthcare costs through encouraging preventative medicine and better coordination of services, as well as avoiding waste and unnecessary tests.
- Integrating patient data from many sources improves clinical decision-making.
- Another advantage of EHRs is the ability to be stored in the cloud. This not only helps in the easy handling of data but also reduces the chances of data loss.
Electronic Health Records and COVID-19
Data quality is critical to the outcome of any investigation, no matter how basic or sophisticated. Large-scale data sharing around the world have played a significant part in public health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been critical to understanding and predicting the pandemic’s likely trajectory. All over the world, hospitals are obligated to submit a considerable amount of COVID-19-related data on a daily basis. Electronic Health Records have played a significant role in meeting this requirement.
Challenges Associated with Electronic Health Records
Although Electronic Health Records have played an important role in information sharing, there are some challenges that are associated with them, especially the ones pertaining to the correctness as well as the security of the information shared through them.
Another challenge is how patients interact with and comprehend data on patient portals. It’s critical to ensure that patients don’t misunderstand file entries.
Additionally, the employees at the clinic may not be able to effectively use the platform. Smaller clinics and more experienced specialists may prefer to conduct things on paper, whilst others may not, which can lead to misunderstanding. Although it may appear that deploying a digital health record is slowing you down at first, the benefits are considerably superior after the initial learning curve.
Although EHRs has enabled the interoperability of medical records, there still remains the challenge relating to the medical terminologies, the non-uniformity of the formats etc, which leads to the wrong transmission of data and hence, endangering the data security.
EHR offers a slew of advantages to medical practices. Without spending time on time-consuming chores like documentation or billing, health practitioners can raise their earnings and deliver better treatment. EHR, like any other software, has some drawbacks. Before deciding on one, it’s critical to understand the functions and tools that your practice requires.
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