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Medical

Healthcare Advances with Electronic Medical Records

Thanks to the dawn of the electronic medical record (EMR), patient care is more effective and efficient than ever before. While many hospitals and independent medical practices continue to use paper-based records, they will not be able to compete with those healthcare agencies that have fully embraced modern technology by “computerizing” their medical records. With the numerous advantages EMR’s provide, one might wonder why any healthcare organization would even consider keeping the status quo of the cumbersome and soon-to-be-archaic paper system.

Cost-Effective Storage

One of the most obvious advantages of digital medical records versus paper records is that they require far less storage space. And since most states in the U.S. require healthcare practices to keep medical records for a minimum of seven years, this can really add up, cost-wise!  And while storage/office space itself is fairly costly, there are also the expenses of the actual storage media itself, such as paper and film—electronic storage media costs just pennies by comparison.

Easy Retrieval

Electronic medical records can be retrieved in a matter of seconds at the touch of a button, whereas hard files take much longer to be accessed. (And hopefully, they are not ever lost or misplaced!) The labor expenses involved in having someone manage, find, sort, copy, scan, send, email, or sift through hard files is literally endless. Whereas with electronic medical records, there is no risk in losing them as they can be categorized in a variety of word searchable formats for quick and easy access.

Simple Modification

When a nurse or physician changes something on a paper file, it is usually scratched out in pen or pencil, creating quite a mess. The handwriting alone can pose major issues for staff (or even the author!) needing the vital medical notes for the patient’s care, which can lead to potentially fatal medical errors. With EMR’s, records can be modified in seconds with a few strokes on a keyboard, and this change can easily and immediately be accessed system-wide, from virtually anywhere in the world.

 In closing, if doctors want to be on the cutting-edge of healthcare and offer their patients the very best care possible, they will have no choice but to convert to a paperless medical record system. Besides, with so many advantages offered by the EMR, such as the aforementioned minimal storage space, easy retrieval, and simple modification of patient records, to name just a few, they will certainly be glad they converted over to a paperless system once they do!  Ultimately there will not be a choice in the matter, as the benefits of EMR’s are so vast that federal and state governments, insurance companies, and other major medical institutions are heavily promoting (and soon to be mandating) conversion to the paperless system.