Essentially, we are talking about advances in medicine made possible by software for electronic medical record management. This is an umbrella term that covers electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR).
The Difference between Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records
An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is all the standard information gathered in a provider’s office – all relevant medical and clinical information. By contrast, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) goes beyond this collected information. It includes all the information known about the patient’s history. Since it is comprehensive, it comes from all the providers who have been involved in taking care of the patient. As such this data is in a constant state of creation as the patient sees different providers at different times who track whether the disease, illness, or health condition is getting better or worse.
This information can now be accessed in a timely way to different providers and more than one hospital or health care organization as needed. So while an EMR is restricted to one provider, an EHR moves with the patient. These records can be accessed by providers in any state. It can, for example, be viewed by general care physicians, nursing staff, specialists, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Advantages of an EMR
An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is an improvement over the tradition paper-based medical records. It’s an electronic version of those records which is easy to update. Providers use it to diagnose and treat the patient.
Here are some primary advantages digital medical information has over traditional paper records:
- It tracks all patient information over time.
- It makes it easier to identify those patients who are due for a visit and who need screening.
- It monitors how patients measure up against established statistical norms.
- It is easier to reorganize the information as well as to search through it. The provider does not have to thumb through a sheaf of papers to find certain information. In addition, new information is recorded in the right categories.
As a result of these advantages, EMR improves the overall quality of care that a patient receives from a practice. Essentially, the provider can access all the information they need quickly and easily, as well as efficiently update any necessary information.
While an EMR is superior to paper-based record keeping, it is not easy to share information with other providers outside of the practice. If, say, a specialist needs to see the information, it will have to be printed out and delivered by mail.
Advantages of Electronic Health Records
EHRs offer a wide range of medical benefits that go beyond what an EMR can provide:
- It provides accurate information because it is the most up-to-date information available on the patient after visiting a number of providers or health care facilities.
- It provides complete medical information about the patient. There is no need to research the medical history.
- It is easy for all authorized users to access, and because of this coordination of data, it offers the most efficient health care.
- It is electronic information that can be shared in a secure way to patients and providers.
- Since it gives all providers the complete medical information they need, it increases the accuracy of diagnosis. Medical errors due to insufficient information are reduced. Overall, it provides safer care for the patient.
- It is convenient for everyone concerned, improving communication between what a patient understands about their medical condition and what a provider is trying to find out about their medical history.
- Since it provides a comprehensive history, it reduces the risk of a patient taking prescription medication that has not worked for them in the past.
- It is legible information since it is in typeface and not handwriting, and this reduces the possibility of misunderstanding the information.
- It is much easier to code and bill.
- It ensures the patient’s privacy and secures their data.
How Electronic Medical Records Management Has Improved Health Care
The use of electronic medical record management software has improved health care, patients’ health, efficiencies on all levels, and lowered the cost of health care. The accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of record keeping have improved the accuracy of medical diagnosis and clinical decision making. It’s especially beneficial in emergency situations when critical information about the patient is needed fast.