The advancement of technology has changed the way the entire world functions. One big change that has happened has to do with the medical world. Electronic medical records, or EMR’s, are used in just about every single hospital and doctor’s office in the United States. Electronic medical record means that a patient’s paper chart, which is what contains all of their medical history, information on medical conditions, treatments, and other types of information, are all stored electronically. It has been a great asset to the medical community, but has brought some pretty hefty issues right along with it.
Advantages of Electronic Medical Records
1. Instant Access is an Advantage
EMR give medical professionals quick and simple access to all of the patient information that they may need in order to provide an accurate and speedy diagnosis. Much of the confusion, and bureaucratic characteristics of the medical world are eliminated with the use of electronic medical records.
2. Doctor’s Have Bad Handwriting
It is no secret that the majority of doctors have pretty illegible penmanship. This has been a problem that has haunted the medical world for decades. Electronic medical records have solved this problem! Doctors no longer have to scribble notes that may not be able to be read, instead they type them into the electronic medical record database, so there is never anymore confusion about if that is an “r” or a “z”.
3. Record Keeping Has Been Cleaned Up
Keeping a physical record for each patient can begin to take up a pretty intense amount of space. Boxes and boxes of records are filed in order to be used at a later time. With EMR this hassle is replaced. Practices do not have to account of large amounts of file keeping space, and instead can focus on having more places to treat their patients.
4. We’re Saving Paper!
One of the greatest things that electronic medical records have brought to us the massive amounts of paper that are saved each and every day. When you really think about how much paper is used in a doctor’s office or hospital, it’s an insane amount. EMR have drastically cut the amount of paper and other resources that are used in the medical field.
5. Important Information Stays Up To Date
When it comes to medical issues, it is vital that all information stays up to current and accurate to what is going on. By using electronic medical records, all patient information is updated automatically, and is added into a patients file. This makes it much easier for doctors and nurses to make a more accurate diagnosis, faster.
Disadvantages of Electronic Medical Records
1. Much Skill Required
The main issue when it comes to EMR is the simple fact that maintenance is needed and problems can occur. Because of this, skilled technicians need to be available at all times. If one small thing happens, the entire office could be shut down. This also means that the current employees must receive additional training to use the technology.
2. Minimal Error Could Mean Big Loss
If one small thing is done incorrectly large amounts of data can be lost. This is a big problem, especially in the medical world. Patient information is sensitive and may be hard to retrieve if it is lost for any reason.
3. Privacy Is Key
Medical records don’t just contain how many times you’ve had the flu. It also includes information for insurance, personal information such as social security numbers, and addresses. If these servers where hacked then all of this information would be compromised greatly, this makes many people uncomfortable with the idea of electronic medical records.
4. Better Have A Back Up Plan
A back up plan is absolutely necessary if a medical practice is using EMR. This means that they must pay additional fees to have external storage services that will back up all of the records on a regular basis. If this isn’t done, then big problems can arise.