A robust EHR system will allow clinicians to track and analyze patient information. It will help improve patient outcomes and save time and money. EHRs can hold what would normally be found in a paper chart, including problem lists, ICD-10 codes and medication lists. They also include secure e-prescribing technology and check proposed medications against insurance formularies.
What Is an EHR?
A patient’s medical records are kept in an EHR system and are accessible to other authorized healthcare practitioners in digital form. Patients can access it through a patient portal, making them more engaged in health care. During a clinic visit, an EHR gives healthcare providers access to graphs and images that can be used for patient education and explain certain procedures or test results. It helps prepare patients for upcoming functions, which can increase their compliance with treatment plans and improve outcomes.
In addition, many EHRs include built-in Clinical Decision Support tools that help physicians align their care with evidence-based guidelines for specific diseases or conditions. This feature is helpful for time-constrained practitioners who miss approaches in paper records or other software systems that do not update automatically. It can also help reduce errors in diagnoses and treatment. EHR solutions can also reduce administrative costs by reducing the time spent filing and recalling paper records for follow-ups, scheduling appointments, or incorporating laboratory and test results into patient files.
EHRs are designed to be interoperable – they can share information with other healthcare providers, including labs, specialists, imaging centers and pharmacies locally and nationally. It helps ensure that a patient’s medical records will follow them to different clinics and doctors, helping to ensure that all of the care they receive is coordinated. EHR systems also benefit physicians with tools to help them provide guidelines-based care to patients. It can benefit time-strapped physicians who may miss opportunities to align their care with clinical evidence. Another important benefit of an EHR system is that it can mitigate the risk of catastrophic clinical data loss. By storing information digitally, an EHR can access essential medical records, even in a natural or artificial disaster. Think of your favorite summer blockbuster – the meteorite that leveled the local hospital didn’t destroy all medical records, thanks to EHRs.
The cost of implementing an EHR will vary depending on the size and needs of your business, as well as how you choose to host the software (on-site, in the cloud or with a SaaS model). The rule of thumb is that custom solutions are more expensive than off-the-shelf solutions. Another cost factor is infrastructure: If you opt for an on-premise server solution, you must invest in powerful servers, networking devices and dedicated workstations. If you use a SaaS option, the vendor will handle the infrastructure. Other costs include training: physicians, nurses and office staff must be trained on using the system, as it will likely require new workflows.
Additionally, you will need to meet the Meaningful Use criteria, a Medicare and Medicaid program offering higher reimbursements to healthcare providers who demonstrate their use of an EHR. It requires meeting certain standards regarding patient information, workflows and security.
An EHR, or EMR (Electronic Medical Records), is a computer system for storing health information. This information includes prescriptions, medical histories, immunization reports and lab results. It can also include X-ray images and radiology reports. It saves time by eliminating the need for physicians to handwrite notes. Some doctors have reported that this gives them up to 20 hours per week back in their schedule. Security is a concern because hackers and unauthorized users can access the data in an EHR. However, several built-in security measures can protect the data.
For example, HIPAA regulations require an EHR to use encryption techniques during storage and transmission. There is also an audit trail that records who has accessed the information and when they did so. Some systems back the data to another location, like a cloud server, for added security. Other technological procedures to safeguard privacy when sharing EHRs with other providers include access control based on RBAC and ciphertext-policy attribute-based encryption (CP-ABE).