Old paper documents are getting replaced more often, and digital documents come in their place. And rightfully so. Imagine having to store hundreds if not thousands of patient records all in print form. Digital files take up only the space needed for the computer, while paper-based records can require massive archives to store the same amount of information. Because of this, more hospitals and health institutions are turning to new technology. It is a growing trend and an outcome of the evolution of technology.
In this article, we will talk about why electronic health records (EHRs) are better than paper-based records and discuss the disadvantages and advantages of electronic health records.
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Advantages of Electronic Health Records (EHR)
We can easily say that electronic health records bring a lot to the table. Because of the constant EHR development or development in EHR, they offer a new, easily accessible, accurate, and efficient solution to how patient data is kept.
So let’s take a look at some of the things that they offer.
1. Accessibility and efficiency
In comparison to paper-based records, electronic health records allow healthcare professionals to have patient information available quickly and efficiently. Because there is no need to physically look through archives of records to find the needed patient file, EHRs cut the time required for a medical examination in half.
The last thing you should do in a critical situation is to look for a patient’s file. Having data available in real-time and considering how easy it is to share and exchange patient records between healthcare providers and professionals are just some other great selling points for the technology.
2. Data accuracy and integrity
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to keeping records and health care as a whole is the prevention of errors and mistakes. Electronic health records minimize errors and discrepancies in patient records while also, through various technologies preventing unauthorized alteration of the documents.
Regarding errors and error correction, EHRs can help reduce these mistakes because they use a standardized format and offer built-in validation checking. When it comes to healthcare, any small error can turn fatal if it goes unnoticed, so accuracy and integrity of information are other reasons this technology should be implemented.
3. Enhanced patient care
Regardless of the current goal, coordination, consistency, and cooperation are crucial for success. In the context of Electronic health record systems, these systems allow for better coordination and continuity during patient care.
Through automation, these systems provide features like clinical decision support tools and reminders for preventive care, which certainly go a long way. When we sum up all these things, we are left with a solution that offers improved patient outcomes due to comprehensive and digitized healthcare.
4. Cost and space efficiency
One of the most essential advantages of the EHR is the cost and space reduction. While health institutions might have to invest in hardware that can support the required amount of data storage and processing, this is still a small price to pay, in comparison.
The EHR solution requires room for the hardware at the most, while traditional physical archives might require three times the space while also being a pain to look through.
Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records (EHR)
All this being said, there are some disadvantages to the technology. Things like the initial challenges, technical issues, security concerns, and the potential learning curve are all factors that must be considered before proper implementation can be regarded as or achieved.
Initial cost and implementation challenges
As we mentioned before, these systems can come with a price. Depending on the organization’s size and budget, the hardware price might not be adequate for some institutions.
And even if the price is not a significant issue, there still is the problem of implementing the technology. These types of systems need a solid infrastructure to stay running and functional, an infrastructure which, if it is not already there, might be another factor to consider.
Technical issues and downtime
On staying running and functional, as with any technology-based solution, downtime and other potential technical issues can be a bigger problem.
To avoid these types of issues, there is a need for backups and work continuity plans to be put in place to have a solid idea of what to do during different kinds of outages. Planning and adaptation must be a priority, and workers need to be familiar with the system they use.
Learning curve and resistance to change
Familiarity cannot be achieved easily. Personnel and staff need to be trained to use the technology and become very familiar with it in order for proper use. Things like the unwillingness to change also need to be taken into consideration before making a change to how the particular institution works.
Because of things like these, there must be good training programs and user-friendly interfaces to make adapting to the new technology more manageable.
Privacy and security concerns
When implementing any sort of digital tool into the day-to-day activities of a more prominent organization, the most important thing to consider is data confidentiality. Privacy and security concerns are overlooked way too often in health institutions.
All kinds of healthcare institutions have fallen victim to cyber (online) attacks in recent decades, so it is vital to ensure the technology you use is secure and up to date.
In conclusion, in this article, we talked about why EHRs are a great innovation that should be considered by all healthcare institutions. We discussed how electronic health records make the whole healthcare industry run more smoothly and some of the leading factors in favor of the technology. You can also try the app to track health.
However, before any implementation, any organization must seriously consider the responsibilities of using this technology. In any case, EHRs are a significant new medical development and should be utilized appropriately by any serious organization.