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Electronic Health Records – Reasons To Move Forward With Implementation

Electronic Health Records Reasons To Move Forward With Implementation

Electronic health records are defined as "longitudinal electronic records" of patient health information that includes demographics, problems, progress notes, past medical history, vital signs, medications, laboratory work, radiology reports, and immunizations -- basically, anything that is being included a traditional medical record, in one easily accessible place.

Why use electronic health records?

Why use electronic health records as opposed to traditional methods of storing health information? Electronic health record management has several advantages over the traditional way of managing and storing health information.

Streamlined information gathering and retrieval

For one, it makes information gathering and retrieval much quicker and easier. Clinicians can have access to patient histories and other information at their fingertips. In addition, as new data is entered into the system, it instantly becomes part of the entire patient record and is available to subsequent clinicians for use in their decision-making processes.

Better health care with streamlined information delivery

Because the information delivery and retrieval is streamlined and automated, clinicians can see at a glance previous patient visits to the doctor, treatments, and so on. They can see patient histories, the treatments that worked and those that didn't. When supportive evidence is included, physicians can review the reasons for the decisions they made.

Physicians can make more informed decisions, because electronic health records allow health care practitioners to have a comprehensive view of patients' histories. With this type of information and history available, patient care quality improves, and medical errors are less likely to happen.

A financial advantage, too

Although not the first priority, electronic health records streamline healthcare process such that business profitability is improved along with patient care. Administrative costs are reduced, revenues are increased, and medical errors (which are financially costly as well as damaging to patients) are decreased.

Reduced billing costs

Statistics show that many physicians use lower level office visit codes (E&M codes) than are truly appropriate in order to avoid being audited.. With electronic records, it's much easier to track what billing codes are appropriate, resulting in proper billing and therefore increased revenues.

Lower transcription costs

Electronic medical records eliminate some of the need for transcription, resulting in significant savings for practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Reduced storage costs

Because it takes significant storage space to store paper records, electronic versions are significantly cheaper to "store" than hard copy records are. A Boston medical center that sees 750,000 patients a year, for example, has estimated that it will save $6 million annually simply by converting to electronic health records from paper ones.

Reduction in insurance premiums

Because the quality of patient care is improved with the use of electronic records, healthcare practitioners' liability goes down, resulting in a drop in malpractice insurance premiums, as well. Simply by implementing electronic health records, it's estimated that providers could save between $4600 and $11,500 a year each in premiums.
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