Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is an electronic system that maintains the data of patients.
The EMR system encompasses data like patient history, diagnoses, laboratory and radiology results, patient allergies, immunization history, interventions’ history, current medications, and notes. These data can be easily shared with the healthcare providers for seeking recommendations on the patients’ condition or prognosis. Nonetheless, EMRs are fully interoperable within the organization, hospital or practice for instance. EMRs emerged first in 1972 by the Regenstrief Institute, but the high cost of such a technology at this time impeded its spread. However, this technology has gradually come to the fore over years, and even any neglect related to the electronic storage of medical records has been penalized in 2015.
The EMR system has emerged to relent some problems that the healthcare system used to encounter. For example, the outdated pen and paper method (or paper-based recording) restricts the data to one healthcare giver at a time with no remote access. Accordingly, that precludes taking the proper healthcare action at the proper time. Also, the paper system provides unreliable healthcare infrastructure and improper communication between healthcare teams, which is mostly incriminated in the discontinuity of care.
EMR's are central in promoting and coordinating the healthcare as follows:
- EMRs provide easier online accessibility of both physicians and patients to health records of patients.
- EMRs simplify sharing medical data between the physician and the patient and increase patient participation as well.
- EMRs facilitate the coordination with other colleague physicians through the electronic messages that have a high-speed function.
- Availability. EMRs are available 24 hour daily, 7 days weekly.
- EMRs boost efficacy and quality of care. For example, this computerization has been supported by reminders as well as some preventive guidelines to improve the compliance of the chronically-ill patients.
- EMR system is an ancillary tool that helps physicians, based on the displayed data, identify the least expensive, yet effective, drugs for their patients. This particular feature minimizes medication expenditures. Similarly, the EMRs reduce the extra costs related to laboratory and radiology tests since patients used to redo some of the tests they had already done in case their results were missing out of the paper system. In 2003, the use of EMRs over five years yielded $ 86.400 savings per healthcare provider.
EMR Vs EHR
Many people use EMR and EHR (Electronic Health Record) interchangeably, yet they are different; HER is a more comprehensively and widely used term. HER refers to all electronic patient care systems. HER adoption rate has been increasing in the USA from 2012 (40% of healthcare practices) to reach 67% in 2017.
The following section depicts some key differences between the EHR and the EMR systems:
- EHR is a digital record of all health data, whereas the EMR is a digital version of health charts.
- EHR allows sharing of updated data, whereas EMR does not allow sharing of patient data outside practice.
- EHR makes health data accessible across all the authorized medical organizations, whereas EMR makes the data restricted to single health organization.
- EHR can be used for health decision making while EMR is used predominantly for diagnosis and treatment.
In the USA, the EHR system is supported by the Medicare and Medicaid for better patient care.