Pros and Cons of Electronic Health Records
Published : 01 Jun 2021 Industry: Healthcare
The surging demand for medical services amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the need for Electronic Health Records (EHR) in 2021. EHR technology comes with both opportunities and unprecedent challenges for the healthcare providers as well as the patients.
With an EHR system, the medical practioners are experiencing a great deal of relaxation in terms of decrease in billing errors or improved charge capture, improved cashflow, enhanced revenues, elimination of need to make hard copies of test results, reduced transcription costs, improved legal and regulatory compliances in terms of data security and enhanced patient confidentiality through controlled provider access etc.
According to a research conducted in Massachusetts in September 2020, it has been found that the use of electronic clinic data stored in the EHR systems the research institutions are able to better monitor the disease outbreaks and upgrade the surveillance of potential biological threats.
Despite a number of benefits and opportunities associated with modern EHR systems, it has several drawbacks linked with it such as high upfront acquisition costs, ongoing maintenance costs, disruptions to workflows, potentially perceived privacy concerns, overdependence on technology, changes in power structure, negative emotions etc.
However, use of EHR system has become essential to transform the medical sector globally. To overcome the cons of EHR technology, the government is also extending its support such as HITECH Amendment Act in 2020. The hospitals are building departmental units in the softwares, extending wifi facilities, deploying hardwares, printers etc to make effective use of electronic health records in their respective locations. IT professionals are being hired for updating the EHR systems, changing the configuration of HER in terms of their role-based access and in some cases, creating new user accounts.
Accessibility to patient information
– Instead of killing time locating a patient’s paper chart, the medical staff can save time by enabling access to patient data anytime. Additionally, sharing of the patient’s medical information across health care providers in different organizations and states would be easier as the data is already digitalized. EHR not only provides fast access to vital patents data such as medical history, blood type, and allergies but also helps during emergency situations, like natural disasters, when patients are often in shock, frightened or confused, to communicate necessary medical information.
Reforming workflows and reduced paperwork
– The time and effort consumed during filling out endless forms, processing billing requests, and other administrative tasks are reduced. It rationalizes custom administrative tasks and makes accessibility easier with elimination of paperwork with limited amount of documents to be filled and signed. Healthcare providers are also able to interpret handwritten notes and information easily as EHRs are written in a uniform style, making less confusion and errors.
Improving medical practice management
– Integrating centralized chart management with scheduling systems connected to medical progress notes and claims makes the whole process more effective. Since it offers effortless or routine delivery of information, availability of medical records instantaneously to the needed health care professionals makes it more efficient to position and process patient data.
Better health and health care
– Healthcare can be provided by improving all phases of patient care including safety, effectiveness, patient-driven, communication, educating, timeliness, efficiency, and equity. Whereas by encouraging patients for better health improved lifestyles including better physical activities, nutrition, prevention of behavioral risks, and wider use of preventative care.
Reduced costs -
EHR system helps reduce over cost through reduced paperwork, enhanced privacy and security of patient data, reduced duplication of testing, and improved health. Health care organizations can also save money by outsourcing the EHR to a third-party as compared to the price of an in-house managed EHR. It will also ensure the safety from any security breaches as it will be handled by experts.
Key concerns about EHRs include,
- When records are computerized, extreme diligence is required to protect the data from unauthorized access. Making sure to enable firewalls and other software protocols gives you more flexibility.
– If the EHR software is purchased from a developer who has not updated it on a regular basis, it can expose the data to malwares and other cyber-attacks.
High capital investment
- Not only purchase of new equipment to record and store patient charts but also following efforts taken to transfer all physical charts to electronic form can be cost-intensive. Additionally, training provided on software adds additional expense.
Struggles with unfamiliar technology
- When an EHR program is put into practice it detracts patients as well as the doctor or nurse time because of the struggles with unfamiliar equipment. With already crowded offices delayed services is not entertained when technology is not reliable.