EMR (Electronic Medical Records) System is introduced to transform the medical industry. It aims at making the entire process of medical report preparation electronic. But it is necessary to understand EMR is entirely different from the computerised format of preparing reports. Using various technologies such as IoT, cloud computing, and cloud storage EMR is prepared.
It will contain the complete history of patients and all the treatments they underwent. Also, the prime benefit behind it is that it cannot be lost and can be easily accessed anywhere at any time. Thus, the practice of EMR to be streamlined. In several critical cases and tricky situations, EMR can come in handy. Besides, going through a haphazardly ordered report will only help in an emergency. Let's look at some benefits and challenges of switching to a paperless EMR system.
Benefits Of Switching To A Paperless EMR System
With the growth of electronic medical records (EMRs), many doctors and hospitals are adopting this new method of tracking patient data. Moreover, the conversion to a paperless EMR system offers various benefits, including:
- Time and money savings: Because an electronic medical record (EMR) system eliminates the need for physical documents, you can devote more time to your business. Also, an EMR system saves money in the long run since it reduces costs associated with filing, storing, and maintaining physical records.
- Simplifying your work procedure: A paperless EMR solution might help you maintain efficiency and organisation by automating some tasks. In addition, it can help you perform audit trails and cross-reference data easier than paper records.
- Improve staff communication: A paperless EMR system may promote cooperation and teamwork by eliminating the need for email and other communication. Instead, you will be able to share information and collaborate faster with the help of an EMR system.
- Lessening the influence on the environment: Eliminating paper documents can lower waste production, which decreases damage to resources and environmental degradation. It also helps you control carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants, reducing global warming.
- Enhancing patient care: With an EMR system, you can easily access and record patient data anywhere. This improves the accuracy of the information and enhances patient care since you can quickly access a patient's medical history, prescriptions, and other essential details.
Challenges Of Switching To A Paperless EMR System
Like most healthcare providers, you probably use paper-based records to bill and track patients. But as the data management landscape changes, many of you are considering transitioning your practice to an electronic medical record (EMR) system. Here are some challenges you'll face if you make the switch:
- Managing data security: A paper EMR is vulnerable to theft, destruction, and cyberattack. To protect your data, you'll need to install a robust security system and protect it with passwords and encryption keys.
- E-Repository integration: The technology that powers an EMR depends on a solid connection to an eRepository—a secure online repository where patient data is stored and accessible by clinicians. If you don't have an eRepository already in place, you'll need to invest in one before making the switch.
- Paperless office transition: A large majority of patients receive their care in person at their doctor's office. To convert to a paperless EMR system, you'll need to convert all patient records into digital form or create a separate electronic file for each patient. This process can be time-consuming and may only be feasible for some practices.
- Migration challenges: Even if everything goes smoothly during the conversion process, there will still be some glitches that will require your attention. For example, some older software won't support the new EMR system, so you'll need to upgrade your software or find an alternate solution.
- Change management obstacles: A successful paperless EMR conversion requires careful coordination between clinicians and IT staff; it's not a small project that can be completed overnight without consequences down the line. Additionally, to avoid disruptions in service and chaos among patients and staff, it's essential to have a well-planned change management strategy before making the transition.
Best Practices For Implementing A Paperless EMR System
As the medical industry continues to grow, so does the need for streamlined record-keeping. Enter electronic medical records or EMRs. By digitizing patient data and automating processes, an EMR can help streamline the care of patients and improve accuracy and efficiency while reducing costs.
However, there are a few key considerations that must be taken into account when implementing an EMR system. Here are seven best practices to follow:
- Equip your staff with the proper training- As with any new system, education is vital in ensuring employees use the EMR safely and effectively. Ensure that all staff members understand how to use the system and have access to support when needed.
- Plan for updates and enhancements- Even the most up-to-date EMR systems can benefit from occasional updates to keep them functional and fresh. However, make sure you have scheduled enough time for these updates so that they keep patient services manageable.
- Standardise your data formats- When transferring data between different systems, it's essential to ensure that all data is appropriately recorded in a standardised way to be compared and analysed across other systems. This will reduce transcription time and make analysis faster and easier.
- Implement automation where possible- Automation can speed up processes by consolidating multiple tasks into a single routine or action item. This will eliminate human error and free up resources for more critical tasks. Therefore, it's important to investigate where automation can be used in your system and ensure it is implemented accordingly.
- Design your system around usability- While implementing an EMR is a significant investment, make sure it's easy for patients to use it by creating friendly graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with intuitive navigation channels. This will help ensure that users can access the information they need quickly and easily.
- Factor security into your planning- Ensuring privacy and security is critical when implementing a new system – ensure you factor this into your design early on. This includes encryption, secure authentication protocols, and data access controls.
- Regulate access to sensitive information- While unintentional disclosure of confidential information cannot be prevented entirely, such measures as password protection and encryption can help reduce potential risks. In addition, make sure that only authorised personnel have access to sensitive or confidential information, and compliance should be monitored regularly.
Paperless EMR is going to be very beneficial for the human race. It will save a lot of time and energy for medical staff. In this way, medical teams will be able to save more lives. Though it won't be easy to implement this once EMR is implemented, no one will wish to look back.
Understandably, replacing the entire system would be expensive and require a huge sum of money at once. But on the other hand, paper reporting is also costly; instead, it takes up a huge sum of money spread over a long period.
The use of EMR can also assure the trust and confidence of people. Indeed no system can ever be made perfect; similarly, the EMR system to has its benefits and limitations. But we should try to focus on its benefits and implement it as soon as possible.
Is there any chance that telehealth is related to EMR?
Telehealth can be related to EMR as telehealth is decided based on the analysis of reports of the patient. Thus EMR can be highly beneficial in making telehealth. It can help store the patient's medical records and make it more convenient for doctors.
Is it safe to use an EMR System?
EMR System is safe to use as it has a secured channel, and doctors and patients can only access it. There are various security protocols in place to keep the data safe. Additionally, all the data is encrypted so that it can't be accessed by anyone other than authorised personnel.
What is the difference between Electronics Medical Record (EMR) and Electronics Health Record(EHR)?
Electronic Medical Records and Electronics Health Records are two completely different things. EMR is the report of a patient in a particular hospital who gets treated to recover from a specified disease.
On the other hand, EHR is the complete summary of the patient's treatment history, including all their diseases and treatments. EHR includes all the data from various sources, including EMRs, laboratory results, and other medical imaging results. This information is stored in a centralised database and can be accessed by authorised personnel anytime.
Is the software of the EMR system costly?
EMR software has a subscription structure to get paid. The price of an EMR varies from platform to platform. It also depends on the features opted for and the total count of users registered on the cloud of EMR. Generally, it is relatively inexpensive, but the cost may vary depending on the scale of your organisation. On the whole, you can pay around $50 per user per month.
In some cases, discounts may be available if you purchase in bulk. Some vendors also offer free plans that are suitable for smaller organisations. It is advisable to compare the features and prices between different vendors before you make your purchase.
How can we choose the suitable EMR?
While selecting an EMR, one should ensure that it is ONC-certified since it will save you from choosing any fake EMR software. ONC-certified EMRs are well-performed software and are highly secured. Moreover, it should have the requirements for a well-managed healthcare system. Additionally, ensure its user interface is simple and easy to understand.
Also, the software should be relatively inexpensive and have a subscription model that suits your budget. Lastly, there should be good customer service and technical support for any issues you face. Once all the criteria are checked and ticked, you can choose that EMR. With these in mind, you can confidently select the suitable EMR.