3 Ways Electronic Health Records Support Better Patient Care
Electronic health records will save the global health industry $78 billion over the next five years, according to a new study conducted by Juniper Research. “Advanced EHRs will provide the ‘glue’ to bring together the devices, stakeholders and medical records in the future connected healthcare environment,” said Anthony Cox, the report’s author and an associate analyst at Juniper.
This is just one more indication of what has been clear for several years now: Electronic medical records are an integral part of the near future’s healthcare climate. As of last year, 78% of office-based doctors used an EHR system; in 2001, that figure was only 18%. In fact, the adoption rate went up by 21% between 2012 and 2013 alone.
It’s proven that EMR practice management can save physicians money. But one of the biggest controversies regarding electronic medical records is whether they can actually improve quality of care. Here are three ways that they can:
Any time physicians spend on the logistical aspects of running a practice is time they can’t spend with their patients or on keeping up with the latest medical advancements. EMR software can be integrated with medical billing systems and even appointment software so that doctors can make patient care their primary concern. It’s been shown that EHR systems improve annual efficiency by about 6%.
Better Data Collection
Electronic health records allow for complete data collection and instantaneous access from a variety of devices. It also standardizes formats for better data comparison and general ease of access. Having as much information as possible — in a form that’s as convenient as possible to access — supports better patient care by allowing doctors to quickly make informed decisions.
There are two factors at play here. First of all, electronic health records reduce the legibility problems that so often plague handwritten files. And second, EHRs can generate automatic reminders and alerts. For example, EMR software might check that none of the drugs prescribed to a patient have documented negative interactions, or an emergency room doctor could pull up a patient’s EHR and see that her primary care physician had previously noted a dangerous drug allergy. These abilities can save patients’ lives.
Of course, even once it’s been demonstrated that electronic health records can lead to better patient care, there are a few things to keep in mind. Staff need to have adequate training on any new system if it is to increase efficiency, and electronic records will never replace communication between doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.
Do you have any other questions about how electronic health records can benefit your practice? Contact Benchmark Medical today!