As technology continues to improve, the ability to document specific data becomes much easier to do. This has changed many industries, but the changes to the health care field have been truly profound. Electronic medical records not only allow for instant transfers of patient data when they move to a different doctor, but they also allow for more complete data to be received by every doctor so that a better standard of care can be achieved. There are some disadvantages to consider when transitioning to electronic medial records as well, so here is a look at the pros and cons of this transition.
Pros of Electronic Medical Records?
1. They provide better diagnostic tools for doctors.
People don’t always remember every doctor visit. They might not even remember that they visited the doctor if something happened 20 years ago. Electronic medical records eliminate the reliance on memory because everything is available to a doctor with just a few keystrokes.
2. They help to eliminate errors.
Electronic medical records for medication distribution are a huge benefit to the industry because they help to eliminate errors. Nurses, doctors, or qualified distributors can mark off a patient’s chart immediately, not have to spend hours filling out paperwork, and even be alerted if they missed someone.
3. They can include diagnostic images.
When patients go to see a specialist for a health issue, in the past they have been required to take x-ray film, MRI CDs, and other physical copies of the images that are used to create a diagnosis. Electronic records include all of this data automatically so that a doctor can quickly access the data when interviewing a patient.
Cons of Electronic Medical Records?
1. They invite identity theft.
It is easy enough to hack into someone’s credit card data to commit fraud. The same is true with electronic medical records. One of the fastest growing areas of identity theft, in fact, is health care fraud. Posing as someone else to receive treatment not only creates bills that may not get paid, but it might even affect how a doctor approaches a patient diagnosis.
2. They can be expensive to install.
If there isn’t an IT network already in place for a medical provider, then the installation of electronic medical records could be a cost that approaches 7 figures. This money needs to come from somewhere, which means patients are usually charged more for services rendered.
3. They are not an error-free solution.
Documentation errors still occur on electronic records, but because they are computer-based, people often seen them as being error-free. This can result in a misdiagnosis that could wind up having serious consequences.
Electronic medical records provide an advantage in the fact that they can provide instant information about a patient, even if they aren’t visiting their primary care physician. They also make the data more accessible to everyone else. By weighing these advantages and disadvantages, each community can design a record-keeping system that is more secure while providing all of the benefits that electronic records can bring.