By Lauren Adley, writer and editor, UK Best Essays.
The healthcare industry has traditionally relied on the pen-and-paper archiving system, creating huge but impractical data libraries. However, the situation is changing in the last couple of decades with the introduction of electronic health records (EHR).
According to the report, more than 80 percent of the US hospitals adopted at least a basic EHR system. It’s a major improvement that drastically changes the way medical practitioners complete their everyday tasks. But what makes EHR systems so powerful? How can they contribute to the overall productivity in the field of medicine?
We will give you the answers to these questions in this article. Keep reading to see how EHR are impacting the healthcare industry.
5 ways EHR changes healthcare
There are many ways EHR is helping healthcare to advance, but some solutions already proved to be very important for the functioning of the medical staff. We made a list of the five most important improvements here:
- Speed and productivity
The first way digital health records are influencing the healthcare industry is obvious: they help the system become better and more productive. Medical staff no longer has to write things down. Instead, all entries are just a few clicks away, so the whole process becomes faster than ever before. This gives doctors and nurses more time to do what they are trained to do – help patients to get better.
- Improved treatment
The second way EHR is changing medicine is probably the most important. Namely, patients get an enhanced treatment due to the precision and transparency of medical records. For instance, a doctor can instantly see previous health problems of a patient and determine whether this person is allergic to certain drugs or substances.
This feature is fundamental in cases where patients don’t know or cannot respond to the doctor’s inquiries. Needless to say, such technology makes life much simpler for all those ER practitioners who don’t have time to think twice or interpret medical records.
- Remote treatments
A lot of doctors, young ones, in particular, are using smartphones and health apps to help patients on the go. Such tools are easily paired with EHR to form a powerful connection that allows medical staff to operate remotely. That way, doctors can follow the condition of their patients and keep in touch with them despite being far away from each other.
- Public health protection
EHR is not only helping individual patients but also improving public health as a whole. Since the system is unified and centralized, it is able to monitor information from different regions and databases. With a little help from Artificial Intelligence, EHR can determine common patterns and identify illnesses of epidemic proportions before the actual outburst even occurs. This can also improve drug inventory management by recommending a supply increase in a timely manner.
- Changing skill sets
Learning how to use EHR is not exactly nuclear physics, but it does require a certain level of technical skills. This is why medical practitioners will have to get acquainted with IT equipment very soon. Nurses are the first to embrace the new skill set because they mostly have to enter patients’ personal and health-related information.
Pros and cons of EHR
After everything you’ve seen so far, it is clear that EHR brings substantial benefits to the healthcare industry in general. However, we do want to be highly specific here and mention both the pros and cons of embracing electronic databases. Let’s take a look at the pros first:
- A single medical record: EHR helps medical practitioners to administer patients’ medical record simply and effortlessly. There are no bulks of papers that patients need to carry around, but rather a single database with the entire history of illnesses and conditions.
- Accessibility: Electronic records don’t recognize physical boundaries and this makes them globally accessible in case of emergency.
- No duplicate entries: Computer and tablet-based processes reduce errors and prevent duplicate entries, making EHR clear and more accurate.
On the other side, there a few disadvantages of using EHR. These features cannot jeopardize the purpose of EHR, but it’s only fair to mention them as well:
- Security: Cybersecurity analysts at Essay Writing Land claim that, with all the records being kept in one place, security and privacy protection become more important than ever. It seems like patients understand this threat very well – a majority of individuals (74 percent) are confident their medical records are safe from unauthorized viewing but have concerns (66 percent) when health information is electronically exchanged.
- Standardization: To function properly all over the world, EHR requires global standardization. It will take decades to complete this task.
- Operational costs: An on-premise EHR can cost $40 thousand to set up, while some systems cost even more. The costs can slow down the implementation, especially in less developed regions.
Administering medical records has always been a challenging and time-consuming process, but it has become a lot less difficult since the introduction of EHR. The new system allows medical practitioners to work more accurately and spend less time handling patient information. We hope this article helped you understand how EHR are impacting the healthcare industry, but feel free to leave a comment if you need any additional explanations.