Electronic Health Records Advantages

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have been with us since the 1970s. While they have been mildly utilized by progressive providers, it is not until the recent announcement by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) that they have grown to prominence. In 2011 the ONC announced an Information system adoption incentive that currently amounts to over $27 billion in grants. This move has seen the medical community begin to appreciate both the promise and perils of “going electronic.” Today, almost 3 of 4 physicians report using EHRs.

What is an electronic health record(EHR)?

EHRs are simply digital records that store patient-centered information in real-time.

The records are shared in an enterprise-wide network and are available for access across different healthcare settings. EHRs are primarily meant to automate access to information and streamline clinical work-flow.

EHR contain information about a patient’s medical history, medications, allergies, diagnosis, immunization, lab, and test results. They provide tools for evidence-based decision making and enhance the accuracy and organization of patient’s records.

Difference between EHR and MHR

Medical Health Records(MHR) or rather Electronic Medical Records(EMR) are records that contain the medical and treatment history of a patient in one practice.

Overall EMRs/MHRs are used to track data over time and identify patients independently while monitoring and improving the care process. On the other hand, Electronic Health Records. (EHR) focus on the patient’s overall well-being, going beyond clinical information. While EHR can travel across different providers, EMRs are restricted to particular providers.

Patient Health Records

Another, distinction of a healthcare information system is Patient Health Record (PHR). These are electronic health records which can be accessed by patients and are normally tethered to a network or standalone applications on a patient’s device. In standalone PHRs, patients fill information which remains on their personal devices and they are at liberty to share this information with care providers or family members. On the other hand, Tethered PHR systems link directly to provider information networks. Patients can view information such as historical lab results, immunizations, and upcoming appointments.


Advantages of EHRs

Less paperwork and storage problems

For a long time the healthcare industry has dedicated significant resources to administrative tasks. It is estimated that clinicians spend over 8 hours a week filling out and processing forms. With EHRs instant storage and retrieval functionalities healthcare offices will be less clustered. Additionally, EHRs will reduced the need for storage space for paper records.

Quality care

EHRs allow care providers to access accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive information. EHRs also allows for sharing of patient information and coordinated collaborations between providers. These attributes generally lead to precise diagnosis, reduced medical errors and safer care for patients. Overall, EHRs will improve patient care outcomes and ensure effective treatment.

Cost implications

While the initial set-up of information systems is quite expensive, the government and other non-profit organizations are providing financial incentives for providers that demonstrate innovative IT solutions. Besides, in the long-run adoption of EHRs will aid in cutting cost by eliminating duplicates and instituting more efficient coordination and administration.

Efficiency and productivity

EHRs will generally improve the efficiency and productivity of healthcare services. With quicker access to patient information and increased communication healthcare operations are going to be streamlined and will function seamlessly. Workers will, therefore, be able to improve their productivity as well as ensure a work-life balance. EHRs will also enable the health centers to meet their business and financial goals.

Patient empowerment

EHRs provide the patient with more autonomy over their records. They can, therefore, take charge of managing their outcomes and overall well-being. With EHR, patients can conveniently schedule their appointments, refill prescriptions and communicate with providers.


Conclusion

Having witnessed first-hand the benefits of Electronic Health Record it is arguable that they present the way to the future of Healthcare systems. While most EHRs are in their nascent stages and experiencing significant growths and changes, one technology has caught the eye, Blockchain.

Blockchain is simply a decentralized ledger which aims at providing fast, secure and transparent transactions. While blockchain is not the proverbial magic bullet for all of healthcare’s problem it provides a foundation for building scalable and resilient EHR systems. Famed for its unparalleled data integrity and control, blockchain can be deployed to enhance the storage, sharing, and distribution of data on Electronic Health Records.