An electronic digital health record system is the systemized collection of population and patient data electronically stored in a digital form. These records are shared among multiple health care facilities. However, the benefits of such a system extend beyond collaboration among health care teams. They also represent a time-saving alternative to paper-based record keeping.
Electronic health systems are designed with several key features in mind. They allow for convenient patient data management, secure transmission of sensitive data, as well as reduction in paper costs. The primary objective is to make patient records compliant with HIPAA standards. These systems were developed based on several industry standards, including those set forth by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARMD), the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Accreditation Council for Health Informatics and Information Management (ACHRIM). Enhanced patient safety features are also included.
Electronic health records to reduce medical errors primarily because they eliminate the need for duplicate tests or possible delays in treatments. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, “Efforts to reduce medical errors have been largely fruitless”. Duplicate tests can delay treatments and increase the risk for complications and other worse outcomes. Digital health records eliminate this possibility. This is especially important in light of the rising incidence of medical errors in hospitals.
Another benefit of electronic health records is that they encourage more accurate and faster physician appointment scheduling. This is particularly important in large, long distance or geographically limited practices. With traditional practices, there is a greater chance that doctors will be forced to call patients late in order to keep appointment schedules, which can lead to a loss in productivity. As many doctors have experienced, too many missed appointments on their schedule can result in an “unscheduled” appointment, which can lead to an even higher loss in productivity. By avoiding unnecessary patient calls, the potential for physician burnout is also reduced.
Digital health care records are also advantageous due to their accessibility. Unlike earlier versions of electronic medical records, the newest versions can be accessed by any member of the medical team. This means that patients no longer need to wait days or weeks to receive their doctor’s orders. Because it is convenient and fast, patients have become more willing to share their medical information through this medium.
A major benefit of the new system is the increased productivity that comes with improved communication between doctors and hospitals. In an aging community, the demand for more doctors and nurses is expected to grow substantially in the next few years. This means that for hospitals that want to stay competitive, it must upgrade its facilities. As it becomes more widely available, patients will expect to see a more efficient and informative medical staff. It is anticipated that the epic electronic medical records, when fully implemented throughout the United States, will drastically improve the level of healthcare that physicians and hospitals provide.