What is EMR (Electronic Medical Records)?
Although the terms, electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) are often used interchangeably, there are distinctive features that differentiate the two. Technically, EMR is a software application that replaces the traditional, paper-based system of storing and managing health information of patients.
EMR allows easier tracking, managing, and monitoring of digital data stored in the computerized system of an individual clinic or a patient care facility. With EMR implementation, medical practitioners can significantly improve the quality of their service.
How EMR is Different from EHR (Electronic Health Records)?
With EMR, sharing of patient’s health information is limited within the particular medical facility or practice deploying EMR. If a patient needs to share his/her medical reports with any other medical service provider or practitioner, the person has to take printed copy of the report and send it by post or furnish it in person.
On the other hand, electronic health records or EHR is a more comprehensive system. It allows sharing and exchange of patient data outside an institution, with various authorized health care providers, laboratories, and medical facilities, through an integrated, secure network. Rich in functionalities, EHR also works as a clinical decision support tool.
From this comparison it is evident that EHR systems are more complex and comprehensive than EMR applications. Naturally, the cost of EHR system implementation would be higher than EMR implementation. The latter is a more affordable option for small practices and facilities.
Advantages of Implementing EMR
More and more medical practitioners are turning to EMR because of its following benefits –
- Improved quality of service– EMR enables quick sorting of patient data and generating reports with greater accuracy. With rapid report generation, doctors and medical staffs can make decisions regarding treatment and patient care much faster.
- Improved workflow – EMR improves the organizational workflow with a more efficient, computerized system to collect, store, and manage patient data.
- Easier data sharing– Sharing data within different departments of the same facility becomes easier with EMR implementation.
- Reduced risk of data loss-With paper-based records the possibility of data loss increases with time. If the files are not handled with care valuable reports and documents can be lost. With EMR systems you can control data access and schedule automatic data back-up. These measures reduce the risk of data loss to a great extent.
- No more storage problem – Unlike paper-based filing systems, which consume a lot of physical space, EMR stores record in digital format in computer hard drives and eliminates storage problems.
Points To Consider For EMR Implementation
EMR implementation brings a change in the organization. Therefore, the transition from traditional to technology-driven process of patient record management needs to be smooth. Consider the following points for successful EMR implementation in your organization.
Select a reliable EMR service provider who understands the specific requirement of your organization and design and develop customized EMR application that best serves your practice environment. Most importantly, your EMR service provider should also offer EMR user training and technical support in the post implementation period.
Perform a workflow analysis for efficient EMR application development. All existing manual processes and tasks need to be analyzed to ensure proper mapping of old and new procedures and seamless transition to an automated data management process.
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