Technology has helped us in more than one way. In the form of Electronic Health Records, or EHRs, technology is playing a key role in improving and saving lives of millions.
EHRs in simple terms are digitized versions of patient health information, though they can get more complex when up and running. These records contain data like medical/ family history, lab test reports, allergies and immunization report, medications, radiology images, personal statistics like weight, age and billing information. These can be shared across various healthcare settings.
As more and more healthcare physicians are embracing this approach, one should know why these are so necessary.
1. Every Information about the Patient in One Place
Electronic Health Records are real-time and contain everything that a physician needs to know before treating a patient. This saves time and lives.
2. Option of Prescribing Electronically
Doctors can prescribe medicines and transmit that data directly to a pharmacy. The patient can pick those medicines from the pharmacy while leaving.
3. 24-Hour Access
EHRs provide access to physicians and patients 24/7. The physician can view lab results and provide diagnoses even when he is vacationing. The patient receives information and doesn’t have to wait till the physician is back.
4. Improves Decision-making and Brings the Error Rate Down
In case of emergency or complex illnesses, time plays a major role in saving life. EHRs can act as decision support systems. The physician can reduce the number of tests to determine the illness. They can also make informed decisions on which treatment/ medicine would work best. This reduces guess work and brings down error rate.
5. Quick Access to a Patient’s History
Healthcare settings with paper-based system has rooms dedicated to keeping patients’ files. But electronic data can help pull information on patient’s history within seconds, making the process simpler.
6. Improved Patient Care and Safety
Drug and allergy information can prevent wrong medications. Photo enabled EHRs can prevent identity theft. Barcodes ensure that the correct patient receives the correct medication at the correct time.
7. Helps Build a Hospital’s Reputation
Hospitals that use EHRs can build their reputation easily. The patients would know that the physicians have access to their previous health records and they would be treated accurately.
8. Streamlines Operations and Coordination between different Physicians
This especially helps the rural sector where physicians have to chase down test reports. Paperwork is eliminated, making sure more time is spent with the patient and less time in maintaining records. There is better coordination across hospitals. The number of tests comes down saving patient’s money.
9. Protects Privacy
Protecting a patient’s privacy is of supreme priority. This is ensured by providing access controls, to make sure only authorized people get to access the information. Patients can view their records online and see who else has viewed their profile.
A Report shows that more than 80% of hospitals and doctors in the US are now using Electronic Health Records. If barriers like annual maintenance costs and cost of an EHR system can be brought down, they will soon become a reality for all the countries worldwide.