Electronic health records software (EHR software), also known as electronic medical records software (EMR software), creates electronic data sets of patient information, such as charts of medical and treatment histories, diagnoses, medications, immunizations, allergies, lab results, and more. This information helps streamline provider workflow and is often used by doctors, physicians, and healthcare providers to make informed decisions about a patient’s care.
Electronic medical records is the original term, which covered the clinical functions of the software, which included drug/allergy interaction and documentation of encounters. Today, electronic health records is the more commonly used term that refers to any software used by healthcare physicians to track aspects of patient care. This can encompass medical practice management software features such as medical patient scheduling, medical billing and more.
EHR software can be used by hospitals, laboratories, specialist offices, medical imaging facilities, pharmacies, emergency facilities, and school and workplace clinics. The EMR data gathered by EHR software is designed to be easily transferred between different healthcare providers’ offices, so all information on patient care is available to those who need it. These businesses use EHR software for productivity and financial improvements, to improve the quality of care offered, and improve the job satisfaction of employees responsible for recording the data.
EHRs let healthcare providers exchange information securely via electronic methods, which helps your medical practice provide higher quality care while enhancing the type of services your organization can offer patients. This means patients will continue to use your organization for all their healthcare needs. Benefits not offered by EMR solutions can usually be found via integrations with other systems, such as HIPAA-compliant accounting software.
Some of the top benefits of electronic medical records software include:
Integrated electronic health record systems improve care coordination by connecting all providers with the same accurate information regarding a patient’s health. With the number of specialists available in today’s world, many patients see multiple doctors and practitioners depending on their needs. Alternatively, patients have more resources at their fingertips to see multiple providers for second opinions, or to find someone more favorable to their insurance plan. Healthcare providers having easier access to their patient’s health records reduces medical errors.
Patients also have the ability to view their health records online via patient portals. These web-based systems let patients log in from their home computer or their mobile device via iOS or Android smartphones. This lets patients easily adjust certain details about themselves, such as contact information, current medications, allergies, and more. They can easily see when their next appointment is, pay bills, find a nearby pharmacy that can fill their prescriptions, and more.
How does electronic health records software diagnose a patient? EHRs improve the risk management of a healthcare facility by considering all aspects of a patient’s condition. Diagnostic information can be used in decision-making when it has all relevant health information in one place. This includes lab results and previous medical conditions and surgeries a patient may have had.
A smart EHR software will not be a simple ledger of information, but rather a computer system that calculates when potential problems may occur. For example, if the EHR system has a list of a patient’s current medications or allergies, it can give an alert if the patient is prescribed something that may conflict. Likewise, if a patient goes into the emergency room for any reason, health care decisions can be adjusted appropriately when they are in situations where a patient is unresponsive.
Electronic medical records software was originally created to streamline the gathering and recording of the necessary information. This is because an electronic system will be more efficient than paper records by allowing for a centralized location for charts while providing quick access to pertinent patient information. In a life or death scenario, quick access to a patient’s medical history means everything.
In addition to quick access to patient records, communication is also improved. Some may feel that the health industry is rather disjointed; you go to your general practitioner for a lingering health concern, who recommends you to a specialist, who prescribes you medicine which you have to get filled at a nearby pharmacy and get billed to your insurance company. EHR solutions will let all of these channels speak with one another easily, so the patient experiences little to no interruption in their care. Offices will be able to easily schedule appointments, and physicians and insurance personnel will get to see everything they need to about the appointment.
Medicare and other merit based incentive payment systems continue to encourage healthcare organizations to use EHR systems in their organizations. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 can be responsible for creating a critical national goal for all hospitals to implement an EHR software. The concept of meaningful use means using EHR technology in a certified manner, which will help:
What is the difference between electronic medical records (EMR software) and electronic health records (EHR software)? One may believe it’s a matter of personal preference of using the term “medical” or “health”, but the terms have evolved to mean two different things. For the sake of simplicity, you are usually fine to assume that EMR software and EHR software are the same things.
EMR is the older term that contains the standard medical and clinical data gathered in one provider’s office. The concept of electronically recording this medical data came in the 1960s; it became a reality when the first EMR system was developed in 1972 by the Regenstreif Institute. As most new technology is, the first EMR’s were high-priced and not widely used except by large hospitals.
With the rise of the internet in the 1990s, as well as the prevalence of computers being more readily available in the workspace, healthcare IT budgets started to increase faster than ever before. Today, medical records are increasingly paperless and accessible via computer systems, or even available online.
In the name change from electronic medical records to electronic health records is the meaning behind that middle word. The “H” for health implies a bigger meaning than the “M” in medical. Many felt that EMR was a tool only to be used by doctors. Today, EHR systems can also be used by patients, insurance companies, and the government. “Medical” also is more of a limited word, implying that the software is only storing medical records. In reality, EHR software options store info on patients’ mental health and can be used by non-traditional medical offices, such as chiropractors and ophthalmologists.