Electronic health records, or EHRs, are the computer-based equivalent of paper records. Rather than depending on paper charts to store your patient information, EHRs are digitized, and can be accessed onscreen from a variety of locations.
There are many reasons why electronic health records have the advantage over paper records for your practice.
Accuracy: Sometimes, an incomplete record can be just as dangerous as no record at all. This is why it’s so important that a patient’s record be as complete as possible. EHRs allow for the most complete patient record possible, with all disparate information (such as lab and radiology test results, blood work, treatment plans, prescriptions, and allergies) to be consolidated and accessible.
Efficiency: When a new healthcare provider can easily access information from the referring physician, patients no longer need to rely on memory to fill out pages of detailed background information about their medical histories.
Coordinating care: Most people see more than one doctor to manage their health. Those dealing with chronic conditions often visit many. Providers communicating directly with each other while caring for a patient can make better informed decisions as to treatment.
Repeated procedures: From x-rays to blood work to MRIs, when a provider is unaware that test results already exist, or cannot access them easily, they often must repeat them. With electronic health records, providers can look up a patient’s most recent lab results, reducing unnecessary retesting, and saving a significant amount of time and money.
Patient safety: In an emergency, a matter of seconds can save a life. Fast, remote access to a patient’s allergies, medical history, and possible drug interactions can make all the difference.
Patients have access to their own records: With electronic records, it’s much easier for patients to view their own health records. NYeC is one such place that is developing a Patient Portal for New Yorkers which will enable patients to securely view and update their health information and better take charge of their health.