The Pros and Cons of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

The Pros and Cons of EHR Software
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Regardless of the type of healthcare practice you’re talking about, most professionals are always trying to accomplish a few important goals. 

They need to be able to communicate and collaborate with other providers and specialists to come up with better and more informed treatment plans for patients. There are only so many hours in a day, so they need to maximize what they’re able to do with every available minute. They need to make sure that their facilities are running as efficiently as possible and that they’re offering not only a convenient experience to patients, but an effective one as well in terms of quality of care. 

Many EHR providers will also point out that many of these are goals that can be accomplished with the deployment of the rightelectronic health records platform for your practice. This is a type of technology that can bring both the administrative and patient-facing sides of a practice into the fast-paced digital era where it belongs, much to the benefit of everyone involved. 

But nothing is truly “perfect,” especially when it comes to technology. By understanding the pros and cons of electronic health records, you can make the most informed decision possible regarding where to spend your practice’s IT budget for maximum impact. 

What is an EHR System? 

As a basic level, an electronic health record (EHR) is essentially a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. Rather than having that file exist in hard copy in a filing cabinet somewhere, it exists in a computer-based form. 

An EHR system, by association, has become the tool healthcare professionals use to not only create and store those electronic health records, but to share them and create as much value with them as possible. This is all in service of increasing patient engagement and creating the most exceptional, satisfying patient experience possible. 

The Usage of Electronic Health Records: An Overview 

With that in mind, it’s also important to note that different EHR providers approach their systems differently. While most act as a digital EHR management system by definition, what you can do while going above and beyond that basic premise will vary depending on the exact tool you’re talking about. 

Effectively manage you ehr system

PrognoCIS, for example, includes a wide array of different features that let healthcare professionals in all specialties more effectively manage their practice. These include but are not limited to functions like: 

  • Documentation – PrognoCIS offers custom templates and other tools that help professionals automate as much as possible, saving a significant amount of time in terms of the administrative work being done in a practice. 
  • Integrated billing – PrognoCIS can automatically generate claims, submit payments electronically, and more. 
  • Practice management – As is true with other tools, PrognoCIS includes features that allow patients to schedule their appointments, automatic reminders, case management, eligibility checks, and more. 
  • E-Prescribing – With a few quick clicks of a mouse, healthcare professionals can see a patient’s medication history, can receive drug alerts, can prescribe medications, and more. 
  • Patient engagement – PrognoCIS in particular includes a number of functions that are intended to create a better patient experience, like user-friendly apps and digital payments. 

Rather than needing separate tools for all these things, and dealing with the costs and maintenance requirements that go along with them, it all instead highlights one of the major benefits of EHR deployment in the first place. You get everything you need to run the best practice that you can, all via one easy-to-use tool that is straightforward by design. 

The Pros and Cons of EHR Technology 

In terms of the pros and cons of electronic health records, it must be stated that there is a lot of subjectivity at play. What one person considers a major disadvantage may be an afterthought to the next. It all depends on you, your practice, your goals, and how EHR providers like Bizmatics can position themselves to help. 

That is to say, truly make an effort to understand the following potential pros and cons of electronic health records systems within the context of your unique situation. Only then will you be able to decide if they’re a true deal-breaker or if the advantages of EHR far outweigh any possible obstacles you might encounter. 

The Advantages of an EHR Software 

By far, one of the biggest advantages that comes with using EHR software has to do with communication.  According to one survey, almost 70% of those healthcare professionals who responded indicated that they were happy to take full advantage of the ability to message their colleagues via the platform. 

In a paper-based world, even if you need to do something as seemingly simple as get a patient’s chart to another provider, this takes a huge amount of time. You need to find the file. You need to copy it and put it in the mail. It could be lost or delayed. With an EHR, communication between providers and even patients happens instantly – allowing for far faster decisions as a result. 

Another one of the major advantages of EHR has to do with how these platforms help professionals reduce errors. Again, in a paper-based world, all information is entered into a system manually. The more humans are involved in the process, the more possibility there is for user error. Don’t forget that medical errors cost healthcare systems an estimated $20 billion each year in unnecessary expenses. 

An EHR can help mitigate this by not only embracing automation, but by even providing automatic alerts for problems like potential drug interactions, and allergies as well. 

But one of the biggest benefits of EHR is undoubtedly the improved patient engagement that they bring with them. According to one recent survey, about 81% of adults in the United States support this type of increased level of access to health information. It makes it easier for them to take a more active role in their own healthcare journey, which virtually always leads to better health outcomes as well. 

If you asked the average patient, they may not necessarily call out their desire for an EHR platform by name because they might not know the term. But if you ask them to make a list of everything they’re looking for to create a more satisfying and engaging healthcare experience, they’d be describing an EHR like PrognoCIS whether they realized it or not. 

The Possible Downsides of Embracing an EHR 

One of the disadvantages of electronic health records software that many providers fear takes the form of perceived high implementation and maintenance costs. Yes, it’s true that any type of digital transformation on this scale costs money. There’s always the possibility that something unexpected could go wrong. Employees will need to be trained and systems must be properly maintained. The list goes on and on. 

But many EHR providers like Bizmatics are prepared to offer not only the system itself, but these resources to get the most from your investment, all as part of the same straightforward price. PrognoCIS begins at $280 per month, for example, with overall costs varying depending on the number of users you have and the features you need. Other EHR vendors have similar pricing structures. 

But when you consider that the financial benefits of EHR are so great that most healthcare practices recover their initial investment within just 10 months of deployment, this may not be a “disadvantage” in the way you originally thought. 

If you’re interested in finding out more information about the pros and cons of electronic health records systems, or if you’d just like to see what a software like PrognoCIS can do in terms of your specific practice, please  contact the team at Bizmatics today. You can also  schedule a 30 or 50-minute PrognoCIS demonstration to really get a feel for the advantages of EHR that a robust tool like this can bring to you. 

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