In today’s society, technology is at the center of just about everything we do. It has improved the way people communicate and connect with each other, and it changed the way we save, store, and access relevant information. As far as the medical field is concerned, technology has made an impact on that as well. Rather than trying to store large amounts of data in areas with limited space, everything is now being done electronically. One of the most notable advances is the ability to maintain and track health records.
Electronic health records are simply the digital version of a person’s paper charts. They contain a patient’s full medical history, diagnoses, treatment plans, medications, and much more. There’s never a need to search for old documents because electronic health records provide quick access to accurate, up-to-date information on any patient at any time. And it isn’t just beneficial to those working in healthcare. Electronic health records ensure patient privacy because the medical data is secure.
Electronic Health Records Vs. Paper Charts
Up until the year 2000, when a patient arrived at a treatment center for their appointment, one of the staff members would search through a stack of charts in alphabetical order to find the correct file, then pass the health record on to the doctor. The problem with this is that it was common for patient charts to be misplaced, meaning that the necessary information wasn’t always accessible at the exact time it needed to be. And if there were ever an event like a fire, flood, or theft, all of the patients’ previous records would be lost forever. When mailing paper health records somewhere, there was a risk of someone looking at that data along the way too; it’s not safe to assume that an unauthorized person wouldn’t take a look if they could.
Overall, implementing electronic health records in the healthcare system has almost entirely removed the risk of someone’s information becoming lost or stolen, and it has significantly reduced human errors. Medical staff and office personnel with permission can easily access, update, and share electronic records. Additionally, insurance and financial information are easily integrated into electronic health records, making medical billing and coding a much simpler process. More than half of healthcare providers have already switched to EHR, improving patient care and experience. It empowers healthcare workers with the tools they need to make decisions about a patient’s care while improving staff workflow as a whole.