The Advantages of Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records can be defined as data which is stored on computer systems in relation to the treatment of patients by healthcare professionals.
Historically, these records would have been stored manually on paper. Increasingly, however, healthcare organizations are finding it easier and more convenient to store health records electronically.
As the following article explains, there are several advantages and disadvantages to the storing of records of records on computer, as opposed to in paper files.
Advantages of Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records have several benefits for healthcare professionals. These are as follows:
Document sharing – With the ability to share information quickly and easily between themselves, healthcare practitioners are able to treat patients more efficiently and effectively.
Easy access – By having data to hand at all times, healthcare professionals can deal with patients efficiently, without having to spend time trawling through paper records.
Easy to update – As records are updated on computer, there is no delay in changing patient data, such as changes of address or phone number, new medication, next of kin, and all the other aspects that could change. This means that electronic patient records are always accurate.
Easy to store – Because the records are held on a computer, a lot less physical space is needed to store records. It takes as much physical space to store 2 records, as it does two million records. This makes information held at doctors' surgeries, hospitals and other medical and dental establishments much easier to use.
Speed of use – Electronic medial records can be accessed immediately, and there is no need for a receptionist to get the paper notes ready in the morning for all patients a doctor will see during the day. This also means that there is very little chance of notes going missing, or getting mixed up.
Security – Having an electronic copy of a patient's medical record can help to improve security on 2 counts. First of all, it means that only authorized personnel will be able to access the records on a computer system which will usually be protected by password. Secondly, having a backup of the records will mean that in the event of the data being destroyed, eg by fire, there will always be an additional copy which can be called upon.
Now you know more about the theory of Electronic Health Records, you're sure to see them in practice, helping to speed up your treatment, the next time you visit a doctor, dentist or hospital.