When thinking about advances in medical care it’s easy to focus on how research and technology are changing the way doctors diagnose and treat disease. But just as important are technology advances in patient data and record keeping, which provide medical personnel with critical information that can help patients, as well as offer statistical information that advances research and treatment options.
EMR Systems are the foundation of information about patient history. They can contain everything from visit history, to prescription refill orders, to comprehensive diagnosis. EMR, which stands for electronic medical records, are changing the way providers keep track of patient data as well as the way they can use this data to help a greater percentage of the patient population.
What Is an EMR System?
At some point in the past 20 years, the world became digital. Thought it didn’t happen overnight, it happened rapidly. Today, almost all our personal information, from banking to healthcare, ancestral history to shopping preferences, are recorded and stored digitally. Hospitals and healthcare providers have been using computers to store medical information for years, but the full transition to EMR has only taken place in the past 5 years.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, Congress and the Obama Administration enacted legislation to stimulate job growth. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contained provisions for $19.2 billion to be allocated to patient and health information technology. This included implementation of electronic systems to record patient medical history. In order to ensure compliance with this transition of record keeping, the government tied Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to demonstrable performance of EMR System implementation.
EMR systems house all patient medical history, including provider information, follow-up appointments, and prescription data. These systems allow multiple providers and diagnosticians to accurately engage in patient care. Through electronic medical records, physicians and other healthcare providers can access a patient’s entire medical history. This ensures that comprehensive information can be used to develop successful diagnosis and treatment plans.
What Is EHR and Is It different from EMR?
An EMR – electronic medical record – is a digital record of an individual’s medical history. It contains practitioner diagnosis and treatment plans, as well as notes from practitioners who have contributed to the treatment. An EHR, or electronic health record is a more comprehensive compilation of individual medical history. EHRs are fundamentally designed for shared access with multiple authorized providers, including third party diagnosticians, pharmacies, and laboratories. Both EMRs and EHRs work in tandem to create a comprehensive digital portrait of the patient that allows treatment from multiple locations.
EMR Software Dictates Information Success
Software is the infrastructure of any technology application. A successful electronic medical record is more than just the data. It is the ability to share information with all providers in multiple locations. Software parameters can help advance the delivery of care to patients by allowing providers to check information from mobile devices. It can also save lives by alerting doctors and nurses to allergies or other critical data in an emergency situation.
Just as information accuracy is important to treatment, using the right software is important for healthcare personnel. Estimated spending on EMR systems in 2015 by medical service providers was approximately $37 billion. These service providers could choose from over 1,000 EMR software vendors, yet fewer than 33% of end users reported that they were happy with the functionality of their EMR software.
Can EMR Training Make a Difference?
Certainly, understanding how a program works can lead to greater satisfaction, and EMR training can result in more effective and efficient use of a recordkeeping program. Choosing the right vendor for the right practice is important as well. Companies like MediTouch, HealthFusion, and Fusion Web Clinic have fully-integrated EHR and billing applications specific to certain practices like pediatric and OB/Gyn.CureMD offers innovative health and medical information software systems that can streamline administrative and operational functions and maximize efficiencies while ensuring industry compliance.
These different companies all offer comprehensive EMR training to help everyone involved with EMR systems maximize the tools for superlative patient care.
What the Future of EMR Systems Holds
The goal of any healthcare provider or institution is the successful treatment of the patient. Electronic medical records are a way to ensure that every individual or department that contributes to the health and wellness of each patient has access to the most current and relevant data.
Technology and medical advancements can go hand in hand. Today, providers can use electronic records to provide patient care from anywhere in the world. EMR Systems allow researchers to spot trend or anomalies, and then utilize this information for advances in treatment. However, the only systems that will improve patient care are the ones used to their maximum efficiency.