by Amanda Gaid
Electronic Health Records, or EHRs, give physicians an easy-to-follow snapshot of a patient’s health history. Systems also make recommendations and offer reminders based on specific details of each patient’s record. Additionally, EHRs can be viewed by patients, enabling patients to take a more proactive approach to their own care. There are many ways that EHRs help medical offices to improve the quality of health care.
Provide a comprehensive picture
EHRs provide a comprehensive picture of a patient’s full medical history. In the past, paper records had to be faxed from relevant specialists, general practitioners and other professionals in order for a physician to get a clear picture of a patient’s health. This piecemeal approach left room for errors as the physician had to make decisions based on limited information that may be missing critical elements.
Improves communications between medical professionals
Physicians can see a detailed profile of who is treating their patients and what medications and treatments are being prescribed using EHRs. If necessary, medical professionals can contact other care providers to discuss specific aspects of patient care and formulate a more strategic plan. EHRs can essentially help separate medical professionals become a team of care providers working together for the best interests of the patient.
Can help to reduce errors
When physicians are able to review all medications and treatments that a patient has been prescribed, it greatly decreases the likelihood of medication errors and contradictory treatments. Physicians may be able to see treatments that would have otherwise been overlooked by both patients and physicians, such as medications prescribed by a dentist or therapist. EMR software may even recommend examinations and treatments based on given information.
Increases patient engagement
Patients can view their own health records online when offices use EHRs, which may help patients to feel more empowered and engaged. Patients can get a peek behind the curtain and see the reasoning behind the prescribed treatments. Patients can also do research on their own time based on the information in their records, allowing a more complete understanding.
Enable statistical analysis to improve future care
EHRs not only put all of each patient’s information in one place, they also put information about all patients that are being cared for by the office in one place. This may make it easier to compile data and use it for statistical analyses that can help physicians to spot trends to improve future care. Being able to quickly and easily report medical statistics and information may also improve the quality of information available to the general public regarding health and risk factors.