The Pros and Cons of Electronic Health Records

April 21st, 2022 /
PrognoCIS
/ 6 Min Read

Overview 

The EHR software is a digital version of a patient’s medical paper record. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. EHRs manage patient care from medication management to advanced analytics. Provide accurate, up-to-date, and complete patient information at the care point. Allow for safer and more reliable prescriptions. Allow providers to improve efficiency and achieve their business goals. Reducing costs by reducing paperwork, improving safety, reducing testing duplication, and improving health. 

Electronic Health Record

There are both pros and cons to using EHR software. In this post, we will look at both. 

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 which was signed into law as part of the “stimulus package” represents the largest US initiative to date that is designed to encourage widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs). EHR has the potential for clinical outcomes like improved quality, reduced mistakes and decreased errors, decreased injuries as well as financial and operational benefits for improved population health. 

The disadvantages associated with EHR include high upfront acquisition costs and disruptions to workflows that contribute to temporary productivity losses because of learning a new system. EHRs are associated with potential patient privacy concerns, which are further regulated in the HITECH Act.  

Pros of EHR Systems 

  1. Meaningful Use 

Your healthcare organization needs to use a certified EHR that is compatible with Meaningful Use. You need to obtain those certifications to access those government incentives. 

As of today, in the quality payment program (QPP), performance groups, along with Advancing Care Information and Quality Measures Reporting in MIPS, offer incentives to clinicians for using certified EHR technology. 

  1. Improves Quality of Care 

The Institute of Medicine defines the quality of care as “the degree to which health care services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge.” 

EHRs provide better analysis and information by viewing or printing chart values such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight by tracking all the changes over time. EHRs can be utilized to send electronic templates to patients, prompting them to schedule appointments for procedures such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and other exams. Improved clinical alerts, reminders, and medical information. Real-time quality reporting and e-prescriptions improve the quality of care. 

  1. Patient Portal 

A highly effective way to cut down on time and increase patient engagement is by activating your patient portal in your Electronic Health Record system. Patient Portals are known to increase accuracy and promote transparency in the provision of care treatment to patients. 

Patient engagement is essential as it creates positive patient outcomes. Paired with online portals and mobile applications (apps), today’s EHRs drive greater two-way data flow and provide wider access to medical data to encourage patients to be active participants in their care. 

Download Patient Engagement Whitepaper

  1. Easy Data Collection and Reporting 

The friendliness and convenient usability of customizable electronic health record systems and templates allow the automation of all tedious and redundant tasks. Doctors can customize their specific templates according to their practice requirements. Healthcare providers must work with health information exchanges (HIEs). Thus, it allows both healthcare providers and patients to securely access and shares medical information electronically. 

  1. Medication Management  

Cloud-based EHR drug management ensures the provider with appropriate details about their patient’s medications, and drug allergies as well as past medication (Medical History) and encourages patient adherence by instantly providing educational materials for patient’s learning. 

Certified Electronic Health Record system with E-prescribing capability allows the submission of orders through an electronic medium (SureScripts) to any pharmacy in the country that has E-prescribing enabled. 

  1. Specific Functionality 

The specialty-specific functionality of customized EHR solutions allows the removal of tools not needed by practice. It eliminates the possibility of errors and makes regular use of EHR more competent. For instance, specialty-specific EHR is particularly important in Ophthalmology practice. An EHR software that helps ophthalmologists in conducting and providing comprehensive eye care. An EHR software that provides eye test templates for cataracts, diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and more. 

 Cons of EHR Systems 

  1.  Privacy and Cybersecurity Issues 

All computer systems are prone to attacks by hackers, and EHR systems are not immune. Patient healthcare information is one of the most targeted areas of data, so healthcare providers need to integrate an advanced data security strategy for their EHR systems. Thus, it is essential to opt for an EHR that is HIPAA Compliant, CCHIT, ONC-ACB, and HL-7 interfacing. 

  1. Inaccurate Data 

If an EHR is not updated immediately, once new information is collected, such as after an exam or after the entry of test results, anyone who sees that EHR may receive incorrect or incomplete information.  This could lead to subsequent errors in diagnosis, treatment, and health outcomes, not only by the issuing practitioner but also by specialists, pharmacists, and physiotherapists. EHRs Require Time and Significant Investments 

When implementing an EHR system, you must prepare for the costs and time. It is important to choose the right functionality to estimate the scope of the budget and how long it will take to implement the system. There’s something else to consider when planning time frames for project design and implementation. You will need time for your staff training to teach them how to use the EHR’s functionality. 

  1. EHR-related clinician burnout 

EHR-related burnout is a real and serious concern among clinicians. EHR-related burnout among doctors stems from increased demands for data entry into an EHR system. As a result, studies show that decreases in job satisfaction and burnout can be linked to increased EHR-related data entry requirements. 

Related – Physician Burnout: Ways to Reduce and Prevent It

For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly 2 additional hours are spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day.

Annals of Internal Medicine

Ways Electronic Health Records Will Continue to Improve: 

  • EHRs will transition from being a personal medical record to a personal health management plan, focusing on delivering information to the healthcare provider and the patient. 
  • In the future, EHRs are expected to rely more on open interoperability standards. 
  • Introducing predictive analysis into EHR solutions allows accumulated data to support clinical support decision systems and point doctors to potential developments, as well as analyze proposed treatment solutions. 
  • AI-based algorithms will combine appropriate algorithms for treating multiple diseases and conditions of a patient, automatically resolving conflicts and redundancies. 
     

Key Takeaway from This Article 

  • EHRs offer providers and patients many valuable benefits, including improving the quality of care, greater convenience, and efficiency.
  • EHR systems also come with many potential drawbacks. 
  • After considering the various pros and cons of using an EHR, you will have a better understanding of how the software will integrate into the current configuration of your organization. 
     

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