Improve Patient Care: 8 Smart Benefits of EMR That Help Your Healthcare Business

Improve Patient Care: 8 Smart Benefits of EMR That Help Your Healthcare Business electronic medical records

In the US, 84% of primary care physicians are using electronic medical records or EMR for short. Its high uptake isn’t a mere coincidence. Which begs the question: “What are the benefits of EMR?”

As the health care landscape continues to evolve, medical care businesses have to move with the changing times. This means embracing every tool there is. More so if it increases efficiency, minimizes errors and improves your business’ bottom line.

One of these tools is EMR systems. In this article, we take an in-depth look at the benefits of EMR. Read on to discover what this modern technology means for your healthcare business.


1. Benefits of EMR Systems: They’re Cost Effective

It’s no secret that the initial costs of implementing an EMR system are high. Nonetheless, the long term costs associated with record keeping will be substantially reduced. That’s a fair trade-off.

Organizing, storing, maintaining and managing paper files have lots of costs associated with the process. Healthcare businesses using paper systems have to employ multiple full-time employees to do those tasks.

With EMR however, you don’t need as many personnel. This means you save a ton of money on manpower.

What’s more, physical files require a sizeable amount of storage space to keep thousands of records. This often means that businesses have to rent secure warehousing facilities for this purpose. With EMR however, that’s a thing of the past.


2. Efficient Storage

Health care businesses using paper systems have to store all their records spanning decades, in large warehouses. In many instances, these warehouses are packed to the brim.

Storing documents this way is not only an environmental hazard but it propels the records’ eventual decay. Handling these physical documents also leads to their wear and tear. Eventually, it becomes difficult to piece together the original information that was contained in a particular file.

One of the benefits of EMR systems is that documents are stored in a private secure cloud. Given that the records aren’t in a physical format they aren’t affected by environmental decay. This means that their original form is maintained regardless of how much time passes.


3. Guaranteed Security

Both electronic document management systems and paper file systems are susceptible to security breaches. However, the implication of a security breach in a facility that stores paper records is more severe than that in an electronic storage system. 

The reason for this is simple. Most paper storage systems store a single file copy. If this record is stolen, misplaced or damaged, it’s gone forever.

One of the benefits of EMR in healthcare is that it offers a more secure solution. These systems have security validation and verification controls that regulate access to files.

This web-based option is a perfect example of such an EMR system. What's more, they have foolproof backup measures that ensure redundancy.


4. Concurrent Access

Accessing paper records from storage archives is often a complicated and time-consuming process. It would begin with the user, contacting the warehouse and requesting for a specific file.

The warehouse staff would then take a few days to locate said file before having it delivered to the user. If the requested file was already retrieved and handed to another user, one would have to wait patiently until the file is made available to you.

If there’s a queue waiting to access the same file you’d have to wait a couple of days or weeks even. With EMR however, accessing a document is instantaneous. What's more, multiple users can view the same file concurrently.


5. Accuracy and Readability

There’s nothing harder to decipher than a physician’s illegible penmanship. Paper medical records are difficult to read and easy to misinterpret.

What’s more, medical providers often have to squeeze in all the information in the limited space available. EMR, on the other hand, uses a standardized typeface.

This makes the information clear, concise and above all, legible. What’s more, some systems allow the healthcare providers to pick from a predefined list of multiple choices if typing is too much of a hassle.


6. Availability of Lab Results

With the paper system waiting on lab or radiology reports often takes time. Lab technicians have to print the results and deliver them to a location where the physician can access and view them.

With EMR, there’s a shared interface between the software and external systems. This allows physicians in different locations and organizations to access them at any point once they’re ready. This reduces the return time and saves patients from having to undergo a new round of tests every time they see a different physician.


7. Efficient Prescription Process

EMR software provides a direct interface between the nurses’ and physicians’ stations, and the pharmacy. This allows them to communicate directly with the pharmacy via electronic prescriptions. The adoption of this system has seen a reduction in the number of callbacks from the pharmacy to seek clarification on dosage issues or quantities that might be illegible.


8. Quick Identification of Patient Allergies and Drug Interactions      

Sometimes a doctor may prescribe medication that is either contraindicated because of another medication the patient is currently taking or because of an existing allergy. Such errors can have far-reaching effects on the patient. One of the benefits of EMR for patients is that healthcare providers can quickly identify such contraindications before they turn into a medical emergency.


The Bottom Line

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of EMR for healthcare providers lies in its ability to improve a business’ bottom line. As the standards for billing and coding evolve so do EMR systems.

Insurance companies and the government are constantly changing their coding standards. Thankfully updating these changes in the EMR system is a quick and easy process.

Medical care providers can, therefore, bill insurance providers swiftly and accurately. If you’re not using EMR in your medical practice, you’re stunting your business’ potential for growth.

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