Not so long ago, doctors, their staff and other healthcare professionals relied heavily on paper documents, file folders and various hard copy offline systems to manage patient medical records.
The format of these systems increased the chance of serious errors that could harm the health of one or more patients or prevent timely medical care. They also created too many opportunities for fraud and identity theft.
Members of the medical community have learned over the past few decades that complex database programs are the perfect answer for managing patient medical data and even practice, departmental and hospital administrative data. Advances with electronic health and medical record systems have increased in recent years to include a wide range of tools designed to integrate them with other systems like instant messaging, prescription ordering and refill systems and diagnostic equipment. EMR software can provide almost everything that healthcare professionals require to offer patients the best healthcare possible.
What is EMR Software?
Electronic medical record software, a type of computer program that offers similar features as traditional hard copy paper records, makes the process of creating, accessing, reviewing, updating and sharing patient medical files and other health and medical information easier. The files created in EMR programs are typically used within a doctor's office or a regional healthcare system. The data is kept secure via a variety of software encryption tools and the privacy policies within an office or system based on the specific location and rules related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Through EMR software, healthcare professionals can share files with medical personnel in other regions via third-party electronic tools as necessary and when approved by their patients. Most EMR systems also have custom features added to meet the needs and preferences of staff in a particular office and healthcare system and the requirements for a specific medical field. Additionally, EMR software offers a wide selection of features and benefits that go above and beyond old-fashioned hard copy paper documents.
Benefits of EMR Software
Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, technicians, specialists and other healthcare workers used to write out patient information by hand or record and then transcribe it slowly by hand or with a typewriter. EMR tools allow them to now create a new patient file effortlessly. Since EMR files are electronic, they also take up an incredibly small amount of storage space versus the huge record rooms required for paper files. Best yet, gone are the days that nurses and others have to retype entire pages or use whiteout to correct spelling and transcription errors and other mistakes.
EMR software also offers automatic text drop-down menus designed to make the process of adding common medical terms to files faster. With off-site servers and cloud backups, EMR programs reduce the risk of total medical file loss seen when paper record storage sites have been exposed to natural disasters. EMR even helps speed up the transfer of records for patient emergencies. Instead of relying on postal mail or shipping services, a doctor can quickly send a patient's file electronically to an ER at any location.
Popular EMR Software
Electronic medical record programs have created an entirely new level of competition within the healthcare industry. As a result, doctors, administrators and office managers can find numerous programs. Some of these options are designed for specific fields while others for generic medical record maintenance. For a highly integrated solution designed for small, medium and large practices that want more than medical record and practice management tools, consider the EHR program Advancedmd. It also offers cloud support and add-on options, such as patient portal, telemedicine, patient engagement and reputation management tools and advanced reporting related to practice finances and other areas.
For small practices or IT budgets, consider Kareo Clinical EHR or PrognoCIS by Bizmatics. These two programs provide all of the necessary basic office and record management tools with a few extras that can benefit any small practice.
Specialists should look for programs that either offer templates for various practices like NueMD or customized features for one specific field. For example, therapists and counselors can benefit from a field-specific program like Simple Practice and physical therapists can benefit from one like BestPT.