Digital record keeping and the use of software tracking tools have completely transformed a wide range of industries — and it seems that healthcare is finally catching up, thanks to electronic health records (EHRs). These tools serve as a digital version of your health history that makes it easier for providers to update and share information. For successful EHR rollout, providers need to ensure that they are using these tools to their full potential.
An EHR contains your full medical history, just like your paper charts. This covers previous diagnoses and treatments, immunization records, allergies, and other tests. At first glance, this may not seem all that different, but where an EHR gains the advantage is in its versatility. These digital forms allow healthcare providers to upload photos, spreadsheets, customized charts and more. This setup allows them to store more information than possible with paper charts.
Another key advantage of EHRs is that they can be digitally shared between authorized providers. If you visit your family doctor complaining of knee pain and they send you to see a specialist, any notes and information from both doctors will be uploaded to the same location. This makes it far easier to come up with an accurate treatment plan or for doctors to review your medical history when future incidents occur. This efficiency allows for faster, more reliable treatment. These systems can even be used to create calendar reminders for future appointments!
Challenges & Concerns
Though EHRs have big potential, they are yet to be fully implemented at all medical facilities. As such, offices that continue to rely on paper forms will not be able to gain the benefits of more accurate and efficient record keeping. As more offices make the transition, EHRs will be able to benefit a greater number of patients.
Some individuals are also understandably concerned about the safety and privacy of health records that are stored digitally. Because of this, EHR providers place significant focus on data security, with encryption, secure servers, and daily server backups being used to protect patient information. In some ways, this actually makes them safer than paper records, which could be stolen during a break-in.
Though it will undoubtedly take some time before EHRs become a standard part of the medical community, there is no denying their potential impact. By allowing all care providers to contribute to an easily accessible medical record, you will receive higher-quality care. In the long run, the use of EHRs could ultimately help you enjoy a better quality of life.