Electronic Medical Records (EMR): What are they, and why do we need them?

An Electronic Medical Record, also known as EMR, is a digital version of paper records in the clinician’s office. An EMR includes patients’ medical and treatment history in one practice. In the present era, the use of EMR is growing rapidly in clinics, hospitals, and healthcare practices. More healthcare professionals are now switching to the digital compilation of patient data rather than trusting paper-based documents.

EMR provides accurate and complete information about patients at the point of care. Digital medical records also enable quick access to patient records for more coordinated and efficient care. Paper records can be easily misplaced or lost and can be accidentally destroyed or stolen if left unattended. Online EMR systems are much safer since the records are stored on a database that requires login credentials to access.

Although the digital storage of data can be safer than carrying physical papers, data breaches are becoming much more widespread. Generally, certified EMR systems have well-prepared security measures. Still, the members using the system should be trained in basic digital security to make sure that they do not leave their stations exposed to unauthorized access.

Many healthcare professionals may be using the same electronic record system; hence it is important to maintain patient records updated after every consultation. Otherwise, HCPs could find inaccurate data leading to inappropriate approaches to treatment. The EMR systems are typically much more costly to implement, as the providers need to invest in the hardware, training, as well as support for installation of the software.

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