Electronic Health Records Pros and Cons

Electronic health records have become a mandate in some jurisdictions for funding to be given to medical organizations. Some hospitals, health centers, and medical care providers are voluntarily transitioning to EHR software. With the world population scheduled to hit 10 billion people around the year 2050, the flow of medical information on each person is going to be massive. EHR helps to manage those records effectively.

Although electronic health records help to manage the flow of information in better ways, there are some pros and cons that need to be considered.

What Are the Pros of Electronic Health Records?

1. It facilitates better patient care at multiple medical facilities.
With EHR software, instead of having to fill out questionnaires every time a new patient visits a doctor for the first time, a simple request to access their electronic data could be requested instead. This would give the new doctor full access to specific health data.

2. It consolidates all records from all specialists.
Instead of needing to constantly request medical records when a patient visits a specialist, the family doctor, the specialist, and everyone else involved on a treatment team can easily pull up the EHR and access specific diagnosis information to stay in the loop. With more doctors have more precise information, better care can be achieved.

3. It creates faster payment processing.
EHR software can be designed to incorporate billing codes based on what happens when a patient visits a doctor. These billing codes can then be electronically submitted to insurance companies, single payer funds, or whomever else is covering a patient so that payment is received more quickly.

What Are the Cons of Electronic Health Records?

1. It exposes more patient data to fraudulent activities.
Because patient records would become electronic, they become more exposed to information loss that occurs when hackers strike. Although paper records can do the same thing, hardcopy files must be access locally. Electronic files can be accessed globally.

2. Data loss might mean the complete loss of an EHR.
If all records are electronic, then what happens if the computer or server that is storing the EHR crashes, malfunctions, or cannot be accessed because of a power outage? The chance of data loss are different with electronic records, but they still exist and this jeopardizes the continuity of care.

3. Privacy loss may become easier to achieve.
Patient files have typically been stored in extensive filing systems on site at a medical facility. With an EHR, those files are stored on HDDs, servers, and flash drives. All it takes is for a doctor or receptionist to leave a patient’s file open on a computer for privacy to be lost.

Many of the benefits of electronic medical records help to facilitate better care. If the disadvantages are considered and accounted for, then an effective EHR software system can be safely implemented.

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