Advantages of Using Electronic Health Care Records

Instructor: Alyssa Campbell

Alyssa is an active RN and teaches Nursing and Leadership university courses. She also has a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and a Master's in Business Administration.

Electronic healthcare records, also known as electronic medical records, are central data repositories for healthcare information. Read this lesson to learn how electronic records benefit both patients, as well as their healthcare providers.

Technology Helps Us All

Jack is a technology specialist working at a small local hospital. Since he started his career in technological services almost 30 years ago, he has seen varying degrees of technologic adoption from working at different organizations. He loves his current job and the people he works with, but is not impressed by the hospital's old-fashioned paper documentation system.

As soon as Jack hears the announcement of a new chief executive taking over, he is thrilled. Having worked with Jane earlier in his career, Jack remembers her willingness to adopt technology. Shortly after the new executive took leadership of the hospital, rumors spread about the adoption of electronic medical records.

What are Electronic Healthcare Records?

Jack is considered a leader among his peers in the technology department, who are threatened by the oncoming electronic medical record (EMR), also referred to as electronic healthcare records. Immediately, he works to lessen their anxiety about the change by explaining that an electronic medical record is an electronic version of patient health information that is entered into a central data repository. In further efforts to dissipate their worries, Jack informs them that the adoption of an EMR means multiple benefits for both healthcare providers as well as patients.

For Healthcare Providers

Electronic healthcare records harness the power, speed, and connectivity of computers to provide better and more effective care for their patients. EMRs allow doctors, nurses, and other members of the care team to quickly share large amounts of data, interpret test results, and even help caregivers make decisions with the use of algorithms, or specially designed process flows and paths to provide the best care possible.

A healthcare provider is shown using an EMR.
A healthcare provider is shown using an EMR.

In addition to simply offering a central place for healthcare providers to document patient information they've collected, it also allows them to:

  • Easily retrieve past medical history
  • Access any previously entered data, including allergies or other pertinent information
  • Compare current test results with normal values
  • Improve the coordination of care through electronic communication and documentation

When combined, these benefits enable healthcare providers to work quickly as a team instead of dealing with delayed communication and gaps in care.

Consumer Benefits

After explaining how EMRs benefit providers, he begins to tell his team how electronic medical records benefit the patients at their hospital.

Patient Access

Because Jane plans to adopt the most common EMR in the nation, patients are likely to have access to their own health records while at home and remotely. Jack explains that, in other words, if his neighbor were to have a health emergency while on vacation, the hospital she goes to in another state may be able to access her medical record. This is important he tells them due to her long history of ailments and extensive medication list.

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