Electronic medical records are no new product in health IT. The government has taken several steps to ensure EMRs are being used to their full potential, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Each Act comes with its own requirements: meaningful use, quality reports, etc.
Though these are designed to support and improve healthcare, practices are struggling and providers are beginning to lose morale. Despite the hefty costs, it’s important to remember that there are several merits of investing in an EMR system for a medical practice:
- Enhance practice workflow: The biggest benefit EMRs provide is their ability to improve efficiency. With e-prescription services, quicker turnaround on lab results, and fewer errors in data, practices are able to increase their productivity and minimize costs of extra personnel, storage areas, etc.
- Enable quality care: The smoother a practice runs, the better services it can offer. Features such as patient portals allow patients to have their questions and concerns addressed promptly due to direct contact with their physicians. Some EMR systems also give providers access to patient records from anywhere, making remote monitoring that much easier.
- Expand physician coordination: Some patients require care from multiple healthcare providers across various practices and it’s vital for communication among these providers to be timely and effective. EMRs make patient data easily available for physicians so they can be sure to have all necessary information, such as drug allergies to avoid incompatible medications, and lab results to avoid repeat tests.
- Encourage involvement: One of the most valuable advantages of EMRs is motivating patients to be more involved in their medical care. This helps patients feel more comfortable and reassured regarding their health and also keeps them informed on which habits they should improve and/or change to maintain their wellness.
- Ensure correct information: With overall improved efficiency, providers can also confirm that they are accurately diagnosing patients. Better outcomes allow patients to feel safe and grow with trust between patients and their physicians. Decreased liability and lower risk is also a bonus for the practice.
EMRs will help to cultivate a practice and bring in revenue. If providers can make it past Medicaid reimbursements and meaningful use stages, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Author: Apoorva Anupindi