From phones and tablets to watches, TVs, and kitchen appliances, it seems like everything is digital these days. This also includes health records. In fact, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires public and private healthcare providers to go the EHR route with record-keeping. Below, we take a closer look at the full impact of electronic health records for healthcare practitioners and patients.
EHRs make all patient data digital and instantly accessible. While privacy is also kept in mind as per HIPAA guidelines, other healthcare professionals authorized to see patient records can do so. This ability makes it easier for medical professionals within a practice or associated with a patient’s care to stay on the same page with patient info. What’s more, potential issues with communication gaps can be minimized by:
The efficiency of paper records is largely dependent on the actions of the various individuals involved. For instance, a doctor could make notes of a patient visit in a chart, but that information may not end up in a patient’s main file right away. With EHRs, however, anything added electronically is instantly on file and accessible.
Also, because records can be updated instantly, there’s no need to use valuable medical office space just to store paper records in a way that’s accessible at all times. What’s more, it can be easier to access any patient information needed to file health insurance claims or respond to inquiries from patients’ insurance providers.
One of the most important impacts of EHRs is reduced medical errors. EHRs automatically flag prescriptions if there’s a potential for interactions with other medications a patient is already taking, for example. There are also flags for prescription dosages that may be inaccurate. Additionally, EHRs reduce medical errors by:
Legally, the improved accuracy that’s possible with EHRs reduces liability for medical professionals. EHRs can, for instance, provide proof efforts were made to provide the most appropriate care.
EHRs can contribute to much-appreciated savings by reducing non-clinical labor costs. Because information is accessible electronically, there’s no need to bring in extra staff just to handle record-keeping. This can be especially beneficial for medical practices looking to keep costs in check while still having convenient access to patient data.
Depending on how EHR collection and input is done in a particular medical practice, it may be necessary to outsource the transcribing process, especially if patient notes need to be transferred from voice recordings into a database. This can be especially beneficial for smaller practices that prefer to focus more time on providing direct patient care. Plus, reputable medical transcription services will ensure the accuracy of what’s transcribed for added peace of mind.