In recent times, our country’s health IT industry has witnessed a complete transformation with the introduction of strict regulatory laws, the progress of technology and the vision of providing quality, cost-effective care.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems have exponentially improved during this time to an extent whereby they have become almost a necessity for any practice looking to survive in the extremely competitive healthcare industry.
The HITECH Act of 2009 and similar developments have resulted in massive increases in the number of EMR vendors, making the market for these products extremely competitive. Technological innovation due to the growing number of EMR Vendors resulted in the quest for comprehensive solutions.
Although EMRs contained the clinical and medical treatment data of patients at one practice, there was an industry-wide need for more comprehensive “health” records, and the option of more portability of this data. That is how Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems surfaced. By definition they provide a broader and more comprehensive view of patient data (that would exceed the standard clinical information gathered at a hospital or clinic).
Moreover, they would are interoperable, meaning that relevant data can move across practices, labs, patients and other stakeholders that could help provide better, faster and more accurate care.
Here are some of the most beneficial features of EHRs:
- Accurate medical, social history and family records of patients on a single, easily accessible source can help physicians make more accurate decisions with the lesser chance medical errors
- Cloud-based EHRs can be lifesaving; for example, relevant patient records can be transferred across practices and states to deal with emergent situations, or to speed up the care delivery process in day-to-day processes.
- Patients will not have to visit the practice to receive lab and test results, as they can be delivered to them electronically via portals in these systems. Patients can also interact with, and receive educational material from doctors online.
- Integrated with medical billing software, they can significantly boost the efficiency of the payment process
There are various other benefits of these systems all of which are aimed towards making the care process cheaper, more efficient and of better quality.