Health care providers are entering the new digital frontier by transferring their cumbersome, space-filling paper files to electronic medical records (EMR). By storing medical records online, a patient’s complete medical record is accessible to all health care providers who are providing health services to the patient.
The EMRs contain a patient’s medical history including allergies, immunizations, and current doctor’s progress notes and orders. The results of lab tests, x-rays, and updates of physical therapy progress are all included.
Benefits of EMRs to health care professionals.
• Pharmacists can access the record for current prescriptions.
• Physical therapists can access the record to read exactly what treatment the doctor ordered.
• Medical errors are minimized when auxiliary medical personnel read the data entered into the computer as opposed to reading and deciphering a doctor’s often illegible hand-writing.
• The cost of copying and mailing or faxing medical records to other health care professionals is avoided.
• Some offices have reported a 6 percent increase in their efficiency.
• Reduced risk of loss of files. Paper files often do not survive natural disasters such as floods or fires.
• Maintains continuity of care if the health care provider dies or relocates.
• If doctors need to treat a patient who has had an accident or medical need far away from home, they can access the patient’s EMR and provide medical treatment with complete information concerning the patient’s medical history.
• In-home care, such as that provided by a physical therapist, is made easier and more efficient. EMRs can be uploaded to any mobile device such as an iPad, smartphone, or laptop and are readily accessible for in-home care.
• For patients who are receiving therapy, such as physical therapy, their doctors can access their real-time progress anytime from anywhere.
• Fewer forms to fill out. Since all health care professionals access the EHR, there is no need to fill out a new patient information form every time the patient sees a new provider.
• Reduces repeating the same tests since all tests performed, the dates they are performed and test results are included in the EHR. This speeds up the necessary treatment because there is no need for one provider to wait for medical records to be accumulated and sent by other providers before starting the necessary treatment.
• Patients have access to their own records and can inform providers of any errors that might have been made.
Making the transition from hard copy medical records to EMRs.
Changing from hard copy files to EMRs may seem daunting but by using electronic medical records software the transition is easy. The software is affordable and easy to use.