Times have changed. So has our healthcare system. It has changed for the good. While we could see the offset of some changes earlier on, it is the pandemic that brought and facilitated a rapid development in our healthcare system in the form of digitization. Healthcare software applications have taken over the healthcare system by storm. The reason is simple, the demand for speed and efficiency is much more now. By adopting the digitization and software systems healthcare providers have actually been able to improve employee productivity, streamline workflows and provide treatment to more patients. Therefore, the importance of health care applications and even medical software development companies have soared up in the last few years.
While all that is true, there are still some healthcare providers who do not have the right insight into certain types of software used in health organizations across the world; the biggest example being Electronic HealthCare Record aka EHR software. Many hospitals have not still adapted to Electronic healthcare Records due to the lack of know-how on the same. Living in the post-pandemic era especially, it is high time that health care providers including hospitals and clinics, etc. realize the importance of electronic healthcare records and adapt it in their organization. If your organization comes under the aforementioned category, you might want to read further, and as we’ll be helping you gather crucial insights about electronic healthcare record software.
What is Electronic Healthcare Record?
In the healthcare field, be it a hospital or clinic, you’ll need to manage a huge amount of data pertaining to the patients. What an EHR does is that it makes the job easier and ensures accuracy.
So, to define electronic health records, they are electronic versions of the patients’ medical history, that is managed by the healthcare provider. It can include all the main administrative and medical data that pertains to the patient like demographics, medications, progress notes, medical history, laboratory reports, etc. The EHR has the ability to automate and streamline the operations of a healthcare organization along with accessing information easily. It is also built to support various other activities related to care either directly or indirectly via different interfaces; some examples of which are evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcome reporting.
Types of Electronic Health Records and How they are used
EHRs can exist in various forms. Here are a few examples. A hospital can install software and create its very own internal database to store records while a clinic can depend on the cloud provider to enable records in order to be accessed easily from different devices. This same record could be something that doctors, practitioners, or administrators review on a computer device before starting the treatment for a particular treatment. So, you can use electronic health records in various ways which resolve requirements and ensure maximum productivity.
However, it is important to be aware of the difference between electronic healthcare records (EHR) and personal health records (PHR). EHRS mostly contains information from doctors and other healthcare providers who are involved in the treatment of a patient. This particular information can be shared with any other healthcare organization. While on the other hand, PHRs are similar but are created in such a way that they can be set up, accessed, and managed by patients.
Why should hospitals adapt to Electronic Healthcare Records?
As mentioned earlier, there are many hospitals in our country that are yet to adopt electronic healthcare records. Sadly, there are health organizations that try to replace EHRs with generic software. That may not be the best idea. EHRs have their specific advantages over other generic applications.
Delivers more convenience to patience
One of the main advantages of EHRs is that it provides a centralized record management system where patient information can be shared securely across multiple organizations. For instance, if a patient wants to find information about a specific treatment or vaccination he/she received in the past, an electronic health record can fetch it within seconds. So, this reduces confusion, makes information more accessible, and increases convenience.
Effective Result Management
An EHR delivers various lab results, radiology reports, and X-ray images of patients electronically. There are no worries about duplication or any sort of inaccuracies. The right result will reach the corresponding doctor and patients.
Intuitive order entry
Healthcare providers need not depend on prescription pads anymore. All the orders will be automated securely with the help of e-prescribing technology. E-prescribing is basically the procedure were electronically generated prescription orders are shared. For example, a medical practitioner can directly send this electronic prescription to a pharmacy from the point of care.
EHR can connect with evidence-based tools to confirm clinical decisions. This medical software application is responsive enough to point you to the issues with drug interactions and warn you so as to assist you in making a proper diagnosis with the support of evidence-based guidelines.
Electronic healthcare records have pre-designed templates that make the job of health organizations even more easier and faster. Moreover, a template can ensure that all the required information is input correctly before closing the updated record. For instance, the information filled in for an oncology appointment will be different from that of a patient’s visit to a general physician.
Activating the patient portal in EHR can be a total life-saver for healthcare providers. It not only saves oodles of time but also boosts patient engagement. The patient can even input their own information with a computer device, no matter where they are at; be it their home or even a waiting room in the hospital. The organization need not lose time in entering individual patient information. The patient portal has been especially useful during the coronavirus pandemic when people started practicing social distancing. Patient portals support telehealth modalities for storing and forwarding high-quality data in a secure way. Patients can isolate themselves and still fill the form.
Boost the affordability of healthcare
There have been many advances in telehealth like EHR that have enabled individuals and organizations to have access to a wider range of healthcare which is way more reasonable and convenient.
Improve the outcome of treatments
Let’s start with a scenario where a health organization does not have an EHR. When that’s the case, the chances are that a doctor may not be aware when a medication that he has prescribed to the patient conflicts with another set of medication he/she takes for a separate illness.
Whereas an EHR has the capability of storing a patient’s medical history which includes all records of medications or allergies and automatically checks it with the newly prescribed medications in order to alert the healthcare provider if there is an issue.
Promotes the reach of healthcare to rural areas
In rural areas, the nearest medical facilities like a clinic or hospital will be situated dozens of miles apart. A person living in that area will have to travel a good distance to even get basic medical facilities. In that case, EHRs can help people living in rural villages get an idea of their health. EHR will analyze their health history and check if they need specialized treatment procedures. For instance, if a person from a rural area has already received vaccination against a particular disease an EHR can point it out and stop him/her from taking the same vaccination again, thereby eliminating the need to pay any additional fee.
What to keep in mind while using Electronic Healthcare Records?
An EHR provides immense opportunities for the healthcare sector to flourish and increase its reach. However, you need to be wary of some disadvantages that it comes with. It is definitely possible to overcome these issues if you use the EHR carefully.
- Protect your EHR from being hacked
After all, EHRs are medical software applications, and they are susceptible to being hacked. So, you need a proper IT team that diligently guards all the sensitive information. Additionally, you can also choose a cloud-based EHR solution as it offers greater flexibility when it comes to backup and data restoration.
- Getting an EHR software from the wrong person/place
Sometimes, to save costs, healthcare providers reach out to developers who do not have much knowledge about the industry’s best practices or government regulations. That is the biggest mistake one can do. The developers may not have the know-how to upgrade the EHR later to comply with the rules and regulations and you are dealing with highly sensitive information here. Therefore, it must be compliant with industry best practices and government rules and regulations. So, it is always safe to choose a healthcare software development company with a proven track record.
In conclusion, the pros of EHR definitely outweigh the cons. In fact, with prudent decisions, you can overcome the cons of an EHR as well. All in all, in this post-pandemic era, the importance of electronic health records can’t be stressed enough. So, if you are part of a hospital or healthcare organization, make sure you get the services of reputed and top healthcare software companies because when it comes to healthcare you want to go for the best.