How Electronic Health Records Improve Patient Care

The 2019 SGP study shows that 55% of healthcare facilities see patient care improvement as their top priority. For hospitals and clinics, enhanced care is more than just modern equipment or new offices and wards. Many of them maintain a client-centered approach with the help of software solutions. In 90% of cases, these are Electronic Health Records (EHRs). In this article, we’ll outline how EHRs improve patient care. 

The difference between EHRs and EMRs

An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a digital copy of a paper medical record. It is a digital repository of a patient’s medical history. Each new page is based on a single treatment case. For example, a neurologist treating a male patient against migraine creates a page with details of treatment, a list of medications, etc. A healthcare facility storing such EMR data does not transfer it to other medical institutions. 

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) includes both EMR information and overall patient health data. It is a broader concept. Any clinic has the right to share EHR data with other health providers, hospitals, pharmacies, and laboratories. Thus, a patient who gets in an emergency ward obtains the right treatment. With the help of EHRs, healthcare professionals define if the patient is chronic or allergic to certain drugs, they also see if s/he has already been examined by other physicians. Doctors analyze the information and prescribe the right treatment. 

If a healthcare facility wants to share data freely and protect patients who may need urgent medical aid elsewhere, it is necessary to pay attention to EHR software development.

EHR advantages

Before the introduction of EHRs, there were three major problems with paper medical records in hospitals and clinics. It was difficult to store documents and promptly find them upon request. Doctors had difficulty in managing handwritten notes made by their colleagues. There was also a risk that paper records might be lost or stolen. EHRs helped to solve these problems. A doctor gets access to the system from any device, easily finds the right patient, and examines his/her medical history efficiently and effortlessly. 

In addition to these obvious benefits of EHRs, it is important to name others directly affecting the quality of care: 

– Doctors are making fewer mistakes caused by the misinterpretation of diagnoses and subsequent wrong treatment. 

– With the help of special apps, physicians consult with their colleagues on complicated conditions to elaborate personalized treatment and care.

– Doctors get access to patients’ overall health data and laboratory reports. Healthcare professionals interpret medical histories and find out what medications their patients used to take. They get information on allergies and genetic predispositions. Thus, it is much easier for specialists to set diagnoses and prescribe the right treatment. 

– Medical workers do not waste time on paperwork and can pay more attention to their patients. 

– A patient has access to his/her data and can get the information upon inquiry from other clinics. Doctors set more accurate diagnoses, and there is no need for duplicate testing anymore. 

– Patients receive electronic prescriptions remotely, without visiting doctors in person. 

– It is easier for medical institutions to find people suffering from chronic diseases and warn them about the necessity of scheduled visits and screenings.

EHRs improve the doctor-patient relationship. A patient is better informed about his/her state of health, consequently, s/he can thoroughly think over important questions for an upcoming consultation with a doctor. Thanks to EHRs, patients take an active part in their treatment and willingly follow the recommendations of medical workers.

Main stages of EHR development and implementation

When a healthcare organization is going to implement an EHR system, it should enlist the support of employees, patients, and an EHR software development company. The staff and clients will help to define the necessary functionality and design. The IT partner will implement the idea and develop an application. To reach this objective, it is necessary to accomplish the following tasks: 

  1. To create a team of experts responsible for cooperation with the developers. These can be nurses, doctors, administrators, or other employees. 
  1. To research the demands of the target audience. The platform must meet not only the doctors’ requirements. It will also be used by patients, pharmacists, and insurance companies. That is why it is crucially important to clarify what functionality this or that group of users needs to make the application convenient and effective. 
  1. To define the functionality. A user survey will help to define the list of priorities and non-essential functions. It will be easier to manage the project and carry out the idea. 
  1. To find an EHR software development company with experience in creating similar platforms and expertise in HIPAA, GDPR, PIPA, and other legislative acts. The IT partner will implement the necessary functionality and protect the patients’ data. As an outcome of this project, doctors and patients will obtain high-quality software. No doubt, that it will be in demand on the market.   
  1. To train the staff. To successfully implement EHRs, doctors and nurses must be trained to work with the application. They must learn certain rules to avoid possible fines. 
  1. To implement new software and get feedback. The IT partner will help to introduce EHRs in clinical procedures and integrate the application with old hospital systems so that it can seamlessly communicate with other programs and transfer the necessary data. It is important to monitor the feedback to analyze user preferences and improve certain features of the software during the next update.

When all the EHR software development phases are completed, the new system will facilitate the medical staff’s daily routine. This innovation will result in at least an 11% increase in the healthcare provider’s revenue and a 20% decrease in hospital admissions within a couple of months of using EHRs. 

Conclusion

Electronic Health Records have become a powerful tool enabling doctors to get comprehensive information on a patient’s state of health. They help physicians to check important data, such as allergies or earlier diseases, which is necessary to prescribe the right medication. Healthcare professionals consider the peculiarities of their patients’ conditions and opt for personalized safe treatment. EHRs help to implement a client-centered approach and improve the quality of medical services.

Adam Hansen