January 17, 2017
Electronic Health Records: What You Need to Know
Electronic Health Records, or EHR, have been around since 1991.
The idea was introduced by a report put out that year by the Institute of Medicine.
At that time they were called Electronic Medical Records, though a modern distinction has been made between the two terminologies.
The overall concept is the same. It’s a digital version of a patient’s medical chart.
The differences in EHR and EMR are basically in the scope of what they include in their data.
EMR vs. EHR
The terms are often used interchangeably, though that isn’t actually correct because there are contrasts.
An Electronic Medical Record includes all the information that would normally go on a patient’s paper chart, such as history, diagnoses, treatments, and any other pertinent details for one provider or practice.
An EMR isn’t shared between providers.
An Electronic Health Record includes all the same information that an EMR does, plus some.
An EHR is a more comprehensive compilation of health history and it is designed to be shared between providers.
The sharing of an EHR also extends to places like labs and pharmacies and can even extend beyond state borders.
Electronic Health Records are basically the natural effects of advancing technology!
The benefits of EHR
More than two-thirds of physician respondents in the Physician Sentiment Index feel that EHR have the capability to improve patient care.
How exactly do they raise the level of care a patient receives?
- Convenience. At a basic level, there are no stacks of paper to deal with. The necessary information can be retrieved with a few clicks. There is less hassle and time involved, increasing overall productivity.
- Fewer errors. Paper records tend to have more mistakes than their digital counterpart. Obviously, medical mistakes can have larger and more important implications than mistakes in other fields.
- Open communication. When all the medical professionals involved in the care of a patient can have equal access to the big picture of their medical history and records, a diagnosis and treatment plan are quicker in coming.
- Follow ongoing care. Doctors are able to follow the progress and ongoing care of their patients more easily when it is all in one easily accessible database. Collaboration of care is greatly simplified.
- Lessen the stress of emergency situations. EHR can literally be life-saving in an emergency. Having a patient’s complete medical history at their fingertips can save precious time, especially in a situation where the patient is unable to speak.
Choosing the right software
All EHR software isn’t created equal.
There are some components providers should look for when choosing the best software for their practice.
- Make sure it’s certified. The certification comes from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology or ONC. There are rules and requirements that must be followed at the risk of receiving penalties.
- Think about privacy and security. The software should guarantee the safety of files, as well as backup. Make sure that the company is using the most up-to-date safety measures.
- Consider the cost. Some EHR software has a large initial cost but lower fees to maintain. Others are free or less costly up-front but don’t have the features needed or charge a lot for maintenance and upgrade. Consult with a representative of the software company and make sure to be apprised of all the costs associated.
- Put a lot of weight on customer care. If something malfunctions, having the necessary help to get back on track is vital. Choose a software company that is known for their client care, like Medipro, Inc.
The benefits of an EHR program outweigh any initial hesitancy that is associated with implementing a new program.