An electronic Medical Record, EMR is a computer-based record-keeping technology that keeps all the information about the patient’s medical history.

Electronic Medical Records
Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

EMR is a systematic way of record-keeping that is stored electronically so that it can be accessed anywhere easily. EMR is the digital equivalent of paper records and has changed the way traditional medical records are kept and managed.

EMR contains information about the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, prescriptions, test results, radiology images such as X-ray, personal information like age, weight, family, and address, etc. Keeping all the medical records about the person at the same place, make it more efficient and easily accessible.

EMR software is the backbone behind the EMR and the software automates documentation, storage, and retrieval of patient records. Some of the EMR software are MicroMD, PCC, AdvancedMD, eClinicalWors, UltraCharts, etc.

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) has replaced a traditional paper-based record-keeping system in which there are a bunch of files for each patient’s record which is a very tedious task. Due to technical advancements, everyone is shifting to EMR because it is beneficial to both medical professionals and patients. EMR is considered as one of the most important products of IT health services.

Using EMR all patients’ medical records can be recorded and stored more adequately and can be accessed easily anywhere in the world. You don’t need to carry your medical record every time you visit a doctor because EMR has all the medical information about the patient in one place.

EMR is shared among different hospitals, healthcare bodies, and medical professionals through a secured network. EMRs can also improve communication between health care providers and patients, positively impacting health outcomes and patient safety. EMR is equally valuable to the pharmacy and laboratory as it is to the hospital.

Since EMR has many advantages over traditional paper-based medical record system so the doctors and healthcare bodies around the world are experiencing many benefits from EMR.

EMR keeps the data accurately and examines the patient’s state across time by reading all the checkups, screenings, and prescriptions. EMR is designed to help healthcare bodies to provide efficient and precise care in time.

History

In the late ’60s, the idea of keeping patients records into the electronic form instead of paper has begun. Larry Weed introduced the idea of an electronic method of recording patients’ information, the idea was known as the EMR concept and it focused on Clinical Data Management (CDM).

In the year 1972, Regenstreif Institute developed the first EMR system which was one of the major advancements in modern healthcare practices. Due to high cost, it wasn’t that much practised because not every hospital could afford it only a few government hospitals practised it.

Later in the ’90s, the internet was emerging and personnel computers became more affordable, the EMR started to grow faster. However, due to high costs, data entry errors of the EMR technique, the growth was delayed and it didn’t grow as expected. Although every medical professional has felt the benefits of EMR, it failed to replace the paper-based record system.

In early 2000, when the web-based applications emerged and computer systems are much affordable that every doctor could afford it, the EMR started to grow. An electronic method of keeping records has resulted in beneficial and affordable too for health care bodies and started shifting to EMR from paper-based record-keeping systems.

In today’s scenario, most of the hospitals and healthcare bodies implement EMR and the EMR is slowly replacing a paper-based record-keeping system.

Advantages of Electronic Medical Records

EMR not only allows to access the medical record online from anywhere but also stores records more securely and systematically. Healthcare bodies like hospitals, clinics have been taking advantage of EMR. EMR is not only beneficial to the medical practitioner but also the patients. Here are some advantages of the EMR:

1. All Information in One Place

Since Electronic Medical Record has all the information about patients such as medical history, prescriptions, screenings, drug side effects, personnel information, etc. hence, it becomes easy to access all the information in the same place.

Medical professionals don’t need to go through every paper and examine them one by one rather they can study your medical history in a more standard way hence helps in treatment.

2. More Secure

In paper-based systems, there are more chances that one can lose or misplace medical records and it’s a headache for a person to keep them safe and sound. This is not the case of EMR because the information is stored electronically and you don’t need to take care of it because it is secured in a digital format. And EMR takes care of the privacy of patient’s data which is one of the key benefits of it.

3. More Accurate Information

EMR solves many issues such as spelling mistakes, different terminology, and handwriting issues that are present in paper-based systems. Using EMR there are fewer chances for mistakes/errors and no one from outside can update or make changes to the data since it is only accessible to authorized medical professionals.

The doctors dealing with the patients can update the information in real-time providing up to date information to other healthcare professionals.

4. Increased Efficiency

Electronic Medical Record not only provides more accurate information about the patient but also helps to save time for both the patient and medical professional. It is a tedious task to go through all the paper records one by one and it takes a lot of time and information on paper records might get fade over some time.

EMR helps doctors to go through your details in an easy way which saves much time and results in a better outcome.

5. Quality Healthcare

Electronic Medical Record is designed to provide better and appropriate healthcare to each individual in time and EMR is improving the quality of healthcare in every possible way.

Many of the EMR software provides facilities to recognize patterns and predict the diagnosis hence helps in quality treatment.

Patients can see their results and treatment progress and can communicate with their doctors in charge resulting in a good understanding between them.

6. Cost-Effective

Since the paper-based system is not systematic so tracking down and going through each record can be a headache and lots of paperwork is costly too. EMR has the power to share information among healthcare professionals more effectively hence saving much time and helps in reducing cost.

EMR also helps in reducing the number of duplicate tests hence saves your wallet. Research has shown that the use of EMR has decreased the identification time of patients by 65%, which indeed is cost-effective.

7. Better Communication

EMR also allows patients to communicate with doctors or healthcare professionals in charge of the treatment and can share information regarding the treatment process.

They can share the lab results, medications given, diagnosis, and hence patients can get the information about the treatment. And Electronic Medical Record also allows communication among the different healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, lab technicians, pharmacists for effective treatment.

8. Authenticity and Privacy

Only healthcare professional can have access to the EMR and no one else can make changes to the data, so every data which is present in EMR is authentic. Since not everyone has access to the EMR, every person’s privacy is maintained.

Conclusion

EMR technology has already transferred many healthcare organizations from paper-based records to more systematic electronic health records. Nowadays, every medical organization is adopting the EMR system because of its high-end benefits which are not only beneficial to medical professionals and patients but also the medical organization.

Electronic Medical Record improves communication among medical professionals and patients hence provide quality healthcare. EMR system stores the patient’s data more accurately in a systematic manner and has all the information about the patient’s medical history.

One doesn’t need to carry a bunch of papers while visiting a doctor, EMR has made this easier because it can be accessed anywhere easily.

Implementing an EMR system would be beneficial to any healthcare organization due to its numerous benefits and every medical organization should use the EMR system over paper-based.

References

(Last Updated On: April 29, 2020)

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