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Digitalization of patient records

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8 May 2021

This digital age has brought the world closer and made life easier for everyone. With new software and systems, digital equipment has an impact on every field and profession. The Healthcare industry is no exception with new tools, and improved systems reduced redundant paperwork.

There are two processes to digitized records:

  1. EMR

  2. EHR

EMR: It contains all the information of the patient like charts, reports medical history, allergies these records stay in the doctor’s office and aren’t shared.

EHR: These records consist of records from multiple doctors this can contain test results, demographics, history of present illness, and medications.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have been accepted and used across the globe. The Healthcare industry adopted information technology since the 1960s, but yet only in the past decade, the use of electronic health records has increased.

EHR is the digitization of charts and medical reports. This stores data from the prior encounters with the patients and helps in decision-making according to the medical history.  Digitizing the first-hand information of the patient’s details has proven to be more efficient than file sheets.

Its time saving gives better access to the records and reduces manual labor. With less physical storage and paperwork in EHR consolidated data of every patient makes it easier to find all the reports, notes, past conditions, medication suggested in a single go using the portal. The predefined templates for every type of record for general patients as well as for special cases. The only thing staff has to make sure of is to add correct information in the database and by the end of the day, the records should be updated properly for the day.

By using EHR the hospital is less likely to lose any records, as the data is stored in the database. To avoid loss of data, hospitals should have a backup database or backup software.

Any field of medicine can use EMR, not solely hospitals. There are many types of EMR software specific to a medical practice’s needs. EMR can benefit dentists, physical therapists, mental health facilities, small clinics, OB/GYNs, neurologists, and any other practice that needs better medical record storage.

EHR can also give decision support, as the algorithm consists of all the information of the patient it can provide with allergies or drug-drug interaction. It can notify issues for any potential risks.

EHR does have a few setbacks like hacking, virus, and upgrades. Criminal hacking is being faced by the software industry ever since the first software. Finding the loopholes to aware crucial information from the database is most likely to happen.

A good security system should be added by the developer to protect the client’s system from being hacked resulting in a denial of access or loss of information.

A computer virus can find the weak points in the system and can reduce the life of the system or can result in the system crashing. Installing an antivirus can prevent system failure.

Developers should be able to understand and fix the issues in the software with frequent updates before any unsolicited access takes place. The software should be updated according to the current need and requirements of the system.

It is also said that EHRs have reduced productivity as the doctors feel like they are investing more time in documentation.

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Rukhsar Shaikh

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