In a world of constant sickness, illness, and injury, their are new breakthroughs in technology that has allowed some clinics to keep up to date records of their patients. Most hospitals and healthcare facilities rely on two methods of recording their patient’s information, either by recording on file sheets, or by putting them into electronic databases that are linked to their computers. While many have seen medical records that are able to be linked electronically as a breakthrough, some have seen this method as prone to cause disaster and loss of patient information. Before a hospital thinks of running their patient’s information through electronic medical records, they should recognize the potential pros and cons of these actions.
Pros Of Using Electronic Medical Records
1. Their are many potential benefits of using electronic medical records as a way of recording patient’s information instead of traditional paper storing. For one electronic medical records (A.K.A EMR), are part of a software that is pretty easy to understand and use for those who understand computers.
2. This software also has settings that can apply to other fields of medicine, the practice isn’t limited to a general hospital or emergency room. The software is basically a virtual copy of the patients records, which shows past and present treatments of the patient, as well as showing diagrams and physical specifications of the patient.
3. This way, complete information is available to both you and the patient, which allows easier access for sometimes hectic situations that call quickly for the patient’s records. With the ability to store this information on the computer, this information is also able to organize better and it will more than likely take up less space than if the hospital relied on paper patient records.
4. EMRs also take less time to access, as they are usually able to be organized where most recent or more frequented patients can be found at the top of the list. This way, the process of getting and recording the patient’s medical records is cut down in time reasons, and it is also much more convenient in retrieving paper records.
5. With EMR, you are also less likely to lose or destroy files as they are stored on the computer, which is usually pretty secure with files. As an added bonus, it is virtually impossible to incorrectly put in information, as the file makes sloppy or sometimes unreadable print from doctors easier to read, as well as it proofreads all spelling mistakes.
The Cons Of Using Electronic Medical Records
1. EMRs aren’t without their downfalls, however, as their are many risks associated with relying upon electronic medical records.For one, since these files are linked through a computer, in the case of a massive data wipeout or a computer malfunction, years of personal patient data could be completely erased.
2. While files stored on the computer are usually easier to maintain than paper records, data wipeouts can completely erase them in seconds. Viruses can also jeopardize such records, but most hospital computers have decent anti virus programs.
3. Computer records aren’t completely secure, however, as in the case of a hack on the computers, many personal and private patient records could be seen and even released or stolen to the public.
4. Paper records also face theft, but usually not to the same extent, and certainly not at the same risk level of EMRs. While to some users of the EMR software may find the interface and design to be easy and comprehensible, some who are not tech savvy, or are not a particular computer person, may find these softwares to be very complicated.
5. As with many computers, with constant access of records over a database of computers may make these files harder to reach as the networks are usually slower, and usually don’t present files for several minutes.
6. Since EMR rely on newer technology and digital advancements, it isn’t surprising that EMRs are much costlier in installment, running, and continuance maintenance than traditional paper medical records. Training staff to use the software will also take extended time and money, both of which are exclusive to EMRs.
7. Since not every hospital is ready to take on these extra costs, as running a hospital is expensive enough, these costs may be too much for smaller or less developed hospitals.
EMRs have the potential to be great, but only time will tell if this increase in money and complication will make this program worth the switching over from paper to electronic. Bigger hospitals that are able to correctly teach their staff, as well as able to fund such expenses, may find EMRs much easier and convenient than paper records, whereas smaller hospitals who may receive less profits may find paper records to be best suited to them. Ultimately, while EMRs may sound like a vast improvement in collecting patient information, it isn’t a practice that will appeal to all hospitals.