Implementation of technology is the most important driver of innovation, competitiveness, and positive customer experience. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine any industry that hasn't been strongly digitized. For instance, e-learning has become common for students and teachers across the globe, especially in the terms of the 2020 pandemic. Online-stored learning materials, electronic classrooms, and journals are no longer a plot of a sci-fi movie, it’s a part of a daily routine of everyone who is currently receiving education.
None will be also caught off guard by the eminent presence of chatbots and robot-advisers in banking. What is more, according to TechCrunch, by the end of 2019, 90% of mobile users had paid online. It has already become our daily routine, hasn’t it? And this list can be prolonged with innumerable examples in retail, insurance, e-commerce, real estate, and many other industries.
But what’s bothering us the most this finishing (thank God) year, is the state of our family’s health, and the ability of contemporary medical institutions to effectively meet the patients’ needs. And fortunately, digital innovation hasn’t passed by the medical industry too. Healthcare practitioners with the help of information technology and the development of medical devices and equipment have become able to improve diagnosis and surgical procedures, as well as brought patient care to a new and better level.
One of the technologies that has been gaining popularity in the medical sphere is EMR (electronic medical records) software which helps to create, store, and update patients’ information. The adoption of EMR systems in the USA was driven by the HITECH Act in 2009, and since then around 80% of the US-based physicians have been using a certified EMR or EHR (electronic health record) system.
As far as the example of the US digitally-oriented healthcare practitioners isn’t still a widespread one, we decided to discuss the benefits of EMR systems and highlight possible drawbacks of their use.
Benefits of EMR systems
#1 They save a lot of time
The availability of electronic medical records eases the process of data input and access for both patients and doctors. Whenever a patient has scheduled a visit to a doctor’s office, they can fill in all the necessary data online instead of spending time on the piles of paperwork in the office. In turn, physicians don’t need to look up the necessary records and wait until the information is sent (for example, the results of blood tests). EMR software serves as a medium between healthcare providers, helping them to unimpededly store patient information, laboratory results, and x-ray images in one place.
#2 They guarantee a higher degree of accuracy
Despite minimizing errors in patients’ information, every clinic that deals with the same patients faces no difficulty in interpreting the patient's personal information or medical history. A fully integrated system also transfers all the available data to a billing system which makes the front office workflow more efficient eliminating the need to enter and check the data twice.
#3 Patients have unlimited access to their medical information
Unlike paper records, online information is available 24/7. Patients don’t need to go to the doctor’s office every time they need to learn the results of examinations or tests, or in case they have lost a prescription. Most of the medical providers offer online portals where one can check a treatment plan or examination results any time they need.
#4 Great speed of orders initiation
With the help of electronic health records, the orders for laboratory tests or medicine can be immediately sent to the needed institution. A patient doesn’t have to spend time waiting in a line or for having their order placed, as soon as their visit to the doctor's office is finished, a laboratory or a pharmacy receives an electronic order from the doctor. It also eliminates the chances of occurring mistakes as a result of illegible handwriting.
#5 It can serve as a great tool for preventative medicine
Having all the information at easy reach and constantly updated allows doctors to take immediate preventative measures. In case a patient needs to update any vaccine, or have an additional cancer screening, a doctor sees it in their electronic records and is able to immediately inform the patient about the required examination. Needless to mention, that this factor can play a life-saving role in many cases.
Disadvantages of EMR systems
#1 Security access problems
Stolen medical records are popular goods in the black market which makes them a desirable item for hackers. In 2017, a great number of healthcare providers became victims of ransomware attacks. Such information leakage costs health providers large sums of money to pay a ransom to restore the data. Some of them didn’t pay a ransom and lost their access to health information without an ability to restore it. Those who paid for data recovery have no guarantee that the information won’t be copied for further blackmailing or sold in the black market.
#2 Usability issues
Electronic health records are relatively heavy resources that take a lot of server space. Having no efficient hosting capacity, physicians will spend a lot of time trying to browse patients’ information. Cloud integration is a good solution to decrease delay time and preserve productivity.
#3 Time needed for personnel training
Any new technology comes without some degree of resistance. Mastering EMR platforms might be challenging for some physicians and patients as well, and will for sure take some time. When it comes to EHR systems, healthcare institutions must consider the functionality and flexibility of their software. The clearer the interface and navigation are, the easier it will be to operate the portal.
EMR systems undoubtedly provide an opportunity for better analysis of patient's health, give patients an opportunity to stay aware of their current health and make the communication between different healthcare institutions quick and flawless. Though disadvantages might still seem scary to some, they can be prevented by choosing the right software vendor who will develop a user-friendly and secure EMR system.
If you are currently looking for a dedicated software team to develop an EMR platform, feel free to contact us at inVerita for further consultation.