Top 8 benefits of EHR we bet you didn't know about!
Introduction to EHRs
Electronic Health Records are electronic documentation of the patient’s medical sheet. An Electronic Health Record includes all the administrative data of the patient like progress records, demographics, past medical history, medications, and more. The rise in the adoption of EHR is due to the usage of medical software to improve Patient Care.
Electronic Health Records came into existence in the 1960s. Considered expensive at that time, these have now become essential in the healthcare segment. In fact, 60 percent of physicians feel that documenting information is a major cause of burnout. An Electronic Health Record incorporates more workflows and seamlessly integrates with other aspects of healthcare.
Importance of Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records or EHR is a digital document that has all the patient health records. It has all the medical treatment information of the patient. EHR systems keep the 360-degree view of patient care in mind. In health information technology, EHRs are a critical part. This is because-
- These records contain a digital form of medications, medical history, allergies, treatment, insurance information, hospital records, and more.
- They streamline operations for healthcare providers and automate tasks
- They help healthcare providers make better decisions for patient care with a wealth of information
Electronic health records are critical now since patient information is being digitized. This also ties in with consumer demand to view their health records in a mobile-friendly, accessible manner. Post COVID-19, patients are now preferring digital copies of their health records for ease of understanding and after-care. This is why EHRs have become more important than ever. From federal agencies and insurance companies to healthcare providers, the importance of Electronic Health Records has grown manifolds.
How is EHR different from EMR?
EHR and EMR are terms often used synonymously. However, they are different. An EMR is a single chart while the Electronic Health Record is a complete file with all patient information. An EHR or electronic health record is a digital repository of complete health information. EMR is a digital chart with patient information. The strength of EHR lies in how data is shared. The Electronic Health Record allows for health information to be accessed by authorised health providers. EHR information can be shared with pharmacies, labs, schools, or any emergency facilities. Here are some key differenced between the two:
Common features of EHR
EHRs can facilitate continuous care and improve the diagnosis. Here are the common features of EHR-
- EHRs help manage patient personal and clinical information.
- EHRs make communication easier with patient-specific instructions
- Supports better decision-making with proper protocols
Advantages of EHR
Here are some advantages of involving EHRs in your practice-
- Better diagnosis and patient outcomes
- Efficient prognosis
- Reduced costs to patients
- Improved care coordination
- Patient participation increases
- Reduced redundancy
- Improved accountability and audit
Disadvantages of EHR
While there are umpteen benefits of EHR, there are certain disadvantages too. These include-
- High acquisition costs
- Regulatory mechanisms
- Maintenance costs
- Outdated information can lead to wrong treatment
- Setting it up takes time
- Training can be difficult for staff
- Integration can be a challenge if the provider is not interoperable
- Data privacy and security concerns
How to Implement EHRs?
Implementing an electronic health record can be tough since there is scope for errors. These errors are related to the security and privacy of patient health information. EHR implementation requires the timely and accurate generation of reports.
Implementation of EHR is now mandatory in the United States. To avoid penalties for non-implementation, certain steps need to be followed.
- These systems must ensure a particular testing protocol is followed.
- These systems need to be fully compliant with legacy equipment and not use outdated or hybrid options.
- While implementing an EHR, it is wise to connect with registered and certified health informatics agencies.
How to Find Certified EHRs?
To find certified electronic health records, healthcare organizations need to look at aspects like reliability, transparency, privacy, cost, and utility. EHR technology needs to come from certified EHR systems that adhere to HIPAA and Meaningful Use terms. An EHR system needs to demonstrate adequate requirements in the following fields-
- Data capturing and sharing
- Communication of this information
- Usage of electronic processes like online lab reports, e-prescriptions, and health information exchange
- Improved outcomes for health that focus on patient portal access and communication
So while selecting an EHR, you need to check if the service provider is HIPAA compliant and attested as per the meaningful use requirements.
Top 8 Benefits of Electronic Health Records
#1: Access to tools
Allowing access to tools that will augment decision-making regarding patient health
EHRs can help stakeholders like hospitals, labs, family, and even the patient know the trajectory of the treatment. It is possible to make better decisions for patient care.
#2: Improved quality of care
EHRs allow providers to care better for their patients. It is easier to access patient records, predict patterns, and propose better treatment options. It is possible to track medical information such as previous lab results and tests. This will help provide the right diagnosis instead of trial and error, thereby ensuring better and more effective patient-physician communication.
#3: Accurate patient information and details
Going beyond traditional means such as storing physical records, EHRs make it easier to access patient information in an accurate manner. Since EHRs are electronic, there is reduced scope for theft, damage, or mismanagement of sensitive patient data. This ensures that health care centres can have up-to-date information about the patient’s health.
#4: Scalability of operations
EHRs enhance the scalability of operations. Since you can access patient information in real-time, it is possible to continue treatment. It is possible to know more about the patient and improve outcomes without any black spots or gaps.
#5: Interoperability between computer devices
EHRs can integrate with other systems to ensure care continues. Physicians can optimise care in a better manner. If a patient needs to move to a different facility, centre, or home health care, the EHR system ensures that care is the same.
#6: Increased efficiency and reduced mistakes
EHR saves time for healthcare professionals with a patient-centred approach. EHR provides accurate diagnosis and treatment. Also, there is a reduced chance of error since there is limited human intervention.
#7: Enhanced security
EHR systems ensure that your patient’s electronic health information is protected. They will ensure that the practice is HIPAA-compliant and highly secure. EHR systems offer the patient records to third parties only after taking the consent of the patient.
#8: Support is accessible and available
EHR systems reduce costs significantly. EHR vendors offer customer support 24/7 helping resolve customer queries. It is possible to share support documents such as videos, tutorials, webinars, etc on how to utilise the platform to the best of its ability.
Electronic health records offer many advantages. The primary aspect is improved care to patients and automation of tasks. It is also possible to customise EHR so that it can be used as per the requirements of the health care practice.
While EHRs are extremely beneficial, their true potential can be harnessed only if staff members can utilise the platform in the right manner. This is why training and implementation sessions are helpful in reducing confusion. Also, steps must be taken to ensure patients are aware of how their data is being used.
Regulations around EHRs
EHRs are regulated under The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which in turn is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The EHR implementation process is also linked to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
In order for health information to be exchanged, EHR Standards must be met. A common reference framework promotes uniformity in the definition and identification of components of the health system. EHR standards ensure there is a reduced error, enhanced data quality, and better solutions to health care problems. Aspects included in the standards are data interchange formats, elements, structures, and codes for specific diseases, allergies, or medications.
How EHRs improve patient care
EHR can drastically improve patient care. Here are some ways how EHRs can improve patient care-
- Patient-doctor communication is better
- Operational efficiency is more effective
- Treatment suggestion is simpler
- Streamline workflow
- Smoothen uncomfortable conversations
- Ensure data is accurate, not damaged, or duplicated
- Helps patients track their records and manage them.
- Improves transparency as patients know the issue with them
- Increases acceptance of insurance claims due to clear documentation
Future of EHRs
The future of EHR is to increase overall value- to patients, providers, and all stakeholders. When the doctor knows everything about the patient and has a cohesive complete record, it is easier to make better decisions and predict prognosis. This reduces redundancy, improves treatment outcomes, and reduces the overall cost to patients.
Adopting EHR for your healthcare practice will improve operations and offer seamless care. A software solution such as EHR is necessary to ensure health care practices provide better care, reduce silos, and stay organised.