The advantages of Electronic Medical Records are many. An electronic medical record (EMR), also known as an electronic health record (EHR), is the systematized collection of patient health information which is stored electronically.
These records can be shared across different health care settings. EMR’s typically store data on a secure server for access either from a local or remote PC, laptop, or tablet. This data can include patient diagnosis and treatment, physician notes, digital copies of x-rays, lab results, prescriptions, insurance information.
EMRs help to store data accurately and eliminate the need to track down a patient’s various paper medical records. In addition, issues with legibility on paper records are virtually eliminated, and data is more complete since there is only one file to modify, and it is all stored in one place, unlike paper files which may be stored at various treatment facilities.
This ensures the file is more likely up to date, and reduces the risk of lost paperwork. Because of these things, EMRs are more effective when extracting medical data to see possible trends and long term changes in a patient.
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One of the advantages of electronic medical records is that the applications can interface with medical claim billing software to send diagnosis and procedure codes for generating and submitting medical claims.
Another of the advantages of electronic medical records is the ability of users to search, locate, and access patient files quickly searching either by patient name or number. In circumstances where the patient is admitted to a hospital, the EMR allows this information to be transmitted to the health care facility instantaneously, which can reduce duplicate treatments and tests, and can save valuable time and money.
Electronic medical records can configured in several ways, from a stand-alone system to a complete EMR system that integrates medical records, scheduling, and billing. A medical practice may implement a stand-alone EMR system if they already have invested in a billing and/or scheduling system. Or they may use unique features that the integrated system cannot provide.
Installing an integrated system with EMR, medical claim billing software, and scheduling modules is one of the advantages of electronic medical records software in that it allows the practice to have a centralized system to meet their clinical, financial, and administrative needs. Information is easily shared and only one software system needs the typical updates and licensing.See more benefits of electronic medical records
One of the major concerns for implementing an EMR system is the cost. Some people consider this one of the cons of electronic medical records. However, increased competition in the marketplace has helped costs to come down in recent years, and the growing prevalence of Cloud or Web based Software as a Service (SaaS) has helped as well.
In house systems will require software licenses, servers, training, and support for maintaining the software and hardware. They must also be backed up offsite on a regular basis. An Saas system typically has lower up-front costs and often includes implementation and electronic medical records training. The tradeoff is that monthly subscription costs can be higher and may require a contract.
Another consideration is the significant cost of integrating the EMR system with the existing scheduling and/or billing software. This can be as much as the cost of installing an integrated EMR and practice management system and can also be a disruption to the billing and administrative functions of the practice.Find out why some medical billing business owners are unnecessarily concerned about EMRs pushing away their business
Data security of patient information is of utmost concern when investing in EMR software. EMR software offers password and encryption features to limit access to those who can see the data. Access to the electronic medical records software is through individual passwords; thus a receptionist who does not need to access patient medical records will be unable to log into the system, but a nurse or medical assistant can gain access through their unique password.
One of the key advantages of electronic medical records is the ability to regularly backup the EMR system data, providing protection against loss of data because of fire or other natural disaster. Unlike paper records, the data can be regularly backed up to a secure off-site service, thereby preserving data.
Although some practices cling to the use of paper medical records, it is clear that the future will see even more widespread implementation of EMRs, and the advantages of electronic medical records outweigh the negatives.