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Why Do We Need An EHR System?

Aug 26

While it may be more efficient to keep a patient's medical records on paper, doing so requires a lot of time and effort, and modern consumers want fast access to their health data and information without having to make an office visit.

Electronic health records (EHRs) have become standard equipment in the rapidly evolving sector as physician burnout costs the United States $5 billion annually and triples the risk of costly medical mistakes.


What Exactly Is A EHR, And How Does It Function?

A patient's medical history, including their diagnosis, medications, treatment plan, allergies, laboratory and test results, and other relevant information is stored in an electronic health record (EHR). Electronic health records (EHRs) are used for more than just recording a patient's medical history.

Electronic health records (EHRs) enable the digital management of patients' health information and its sharing amongst several organizations and medical professionals. These resources equip doctors with data to make educated decisions and treatment suggestions.


What's the Difference Between Electronic Health Records And Electronic Medical Records?

Though EHR and EMR are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important distinctions between the two.

Since they are the digital analogue of a patient's paper document, EMRs are sometimes referred to as the first generation of electronic health records (EHRs). Electronic medical records (EMRs) are computerized health records that provide detailed information about a patient's medical history, including their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

The capabilities of EHRs extend much beyond those of EMRs. They cover a far greater range of a patient's health and medical history than what was originally stored and entered by the health facility. They can also aid with administrative areas of healthcare, such as invoicing and appointment setting.


The Benefits Of Electronic Health Record Systems

It has been suggested that electronic health record systems might improve the healthcare industry by increasing physician efficiency and patient satisfaction.


Effectiveness Of Doctors

Faster patient diagnoses and the digitization of administrative tasks, which account for 30% of healthcare costs, are both possible thanks to EHR implementation. Additional ways in which EHRs might boost doctors' efficiency include:

  • Instances of retrieving files from storage have decreased
  • Savings in transcription expenses
  • It doesn't matter what hour it is, doctors may access patient records
  • The scheduling and billing processes have been improved


The Need For Happy Patients

Patients now want a deeper comprehension of how to keep track of and manage their own health data and medical records. With the use of an electronic health record (EHR), patients may quickly review their records and determine which areas of their health care delivery could use some tweaking. Additionally, patients can get the following benefits from electronic health records:

  • Their files may be accessed whenever, day or night
  • Chronic disease management is simplified
  • Rapid communication with a medical professional
  • Better access to educational materials

Strategies For Addressing EHR Implementation Challenges

While electronic health records (EHRs) may help reduce expenses, increase output, and enhance the quality of care provided to patients, implementing them is a laborious and time-consuming process. Two of the most significant difficulties that EHRs must overcome are interoperability and data security.

Interoperability, or the capacity of different software systems to speak to one another and share information, is one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, accurate data interoperability is critical because one of the primary advantages of adopting EHRs is the ability to share patients' medical records across many health institutions. Only 37% of US hospital administrators think their company is "extremely" or "very" successful at exchanging medical data with other health systems, according to research from Business Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Ecosystem.

Interoperability is only one of the challenges to EHR implementation; data security and customer privacy are also major roadblocks. Given the prevalence of cyber attacks and security breaches, assuring patients and physicians that their data is secure is a challenging undertaking.

Training staff members is also essential to a successful EHR implementation strategy. In order to plan for the eventual digitization of paper records, the creation of a reliable backup system, and the implementation of contingency procedures in the event of an EHR system failure, hospitals and healthcare organizations should assemble a dedicated and competent EHR team.

In order to make the most of the benefits that an EHR can provide both clinicians and their patients, training should focus on the entire system, not just one specific function. The complete EHR module needs to be taught to employees, or else they would revert to their old ways of doing things.


Requirements And Incentives For Electronic Health Record Use In The United States

To enable healthcare professionals and organizations in making efficient use of EHR technology to solve the various issues described above, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched Promoting Interoperability Programs.

The program launched back in 2011 and has since undergone three phases:

  • Step one is to create a foundational set of standards for the electronic capture of patient health data.
  • In the second phase, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) encouraged healthcare providers to share patient information electronically using electronic health records (EHRs), with an eye on quality enhancement and meaningful usage.
  • The third phase combines the previous two steps into a unified whole, presenting doctors with the most up-to-date standards from the Promoting Interoperability
  • Programs. Many of the ideas from the second stage were carried over into the third, including the importance of providing high-quality care and the desire to enhance patient outcomes.

Predicting The Future Of Electronic Health Records And Emerging Technologies In Digital Healthcare

The global market for EHRs was valued at $20.55 billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to $33.41 billion by 2025. Large technology firms are making important contributions to this growth as they expand into the digital health industry.

The parent company of Google, Alphabet, is using its cloud platform to help solve problems in healthcare IT, such as EHR interoperability, which has led to fruitful partnerships between the healthcare sector and internet companies. In 2018, Google released Google Cloud for Healthcare to aid healthcare providers in the collection and access to patient health data.

The evolution of EHRs into helpful decision-making tools is made possible by the Cloud Healthcare API, which allows healthcare apps to communicate with one another while meeting the industry's privacy and security requirements.

In 2019, Apple also recognized an opening in the EHR industry, and the company signed a deal to integrate Allscripts' EHR data into its Apple Health Records platform. Considering that Allscripts is the fifth largest EHR supplier in the United States, this agreement would undoubtedly help Apple increase its hospital penetration.

Even in the EHR sector, Amazon is expanding. Amazon Web Services (AWS) compiles information from many databases, including EHRs, to aid medical professionals in making more informed decisions and spotting emerging health issues before they become problematic for patients. An overwhelming majority of healthcare providers (62%) believe Amazon's potential arrival will be good for the healthcare industry, according to a research by Business Insider Intelligence.

At the end of the day, many large IT firms involved in transportation and patient comfort will continue to help the EHR industry in the future. By enabling Cerner EHR users to request Uber trips for their patients, Uber began capitalizing on the underdeveloped market for non-emergency medical transportation.


Would You Like To Find Out More?

Due to geographical barriers and the stress of making a routine doctor's appointment, digital health is more important than ever. Digital technology is crucial to the healthcare industry's pursuit of individualization and ease, two trends that are rapidly becoming industry standards.