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Why Is EMR Better Than Paper Records?

The healthcare industry is in a constant state of development, with many medical practices and healthcare providers looking for ways to provide accurate treatment and high quality care for patients. Adopting technology and electronic systems for patient data gathering and storage is one of the best investments for hospitals and clinics. In fact, keeping electronic medical records is fast-becoming the norm for the future of medical professionals and aesthetic providers. 

So why is an EMR better than keeping a paper-based patient record? Electronic records improve the overall quality of care and service provided by health care providers. Its advantages over paper records include secure encryption systems to protect patient health information, more cost-efficient, lessens the risk of losing or misplacing critical data, organizes essential patient charts in one network, and allows for electronic prescribing, among others. 

What Are Electronic Medical Records or EMR? 

Without a doubt, digital solutions and technology are paving the way for a more advanced and efficient healthcare system. An electronic medical record (EMR) is a prime example of an innovation that is helping standardize the way any healthcare organization stores patient data and health information in convenient electronic systems. 

Essentially, EMRs are the digital version of a patient’s paper charts, medical files, and lab records. Before, healthcare facilities used to manage heaps of paper files in storage but EMRs serve as a digital database for all critical, life-saving information that can be accessed by all authorized providers and members of the healthcare staff. 

EMRs can be stored and accessed online in the cloud or in your practice’s local network. It contains all patient data that are essential for follow-up care and treatment including medical history, treatment history, doctor’s notes, current and previous prescriptions, imaging results, laboratory information, and other bits of relevant data needed for medical decisions.

EMRs can sometimes be used interchangeably with EHRs or electronic health record but it’s important to know that there’s a distinction between the two. An electronic health record is a more comprehensive record of a patient and provides a broader view of their complete health and treatment. 

An EHR is more specifically designed for coordination with other healthcare providers, medical facilities, and clinics since it can be authorized for sharing outside the practice. Aside from the standard patient data, EHRs contain information about past surgeries, vital signs, diagnoses, progress notes, discharge instructions, medications, test results, radiology images, and administrative and billing information. 

Pros Of Using An EMR Versus Paper Medical Records 

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Many medical organizations and larger health facilities are starting to integrate and standardize the electronic patient record system to improve their level of service and patient care. However, there are still smaller practices and independently-owned clinics who are still relying on paper medical records and files. 

But no matter the size of your medical or aesthetic practice, electronic medical records provide plenty of benefits and incentives for your physician and departments and improves your overall patient management. Here are some of the advantages of EMRs over a paper-based record:

1. Better information security and patient safety

Information security and data confidentiality is a major concern for many patients and any hospital and medical facility has a responsibility to make sure that their information is not compromised or stolen. Critical patient documents are more prone to damages from natural disaster,  theft, tampering, and unauthorized access with a traditional paper-based record. 

Modern electronic medical systems in healthcare facilities have reliable and secure encryption programs and tools in place to protect information from being stolen or breached. With manual paper recording, studies show that it’s easy for any third-party individual or attackers to steal or make illegal copies of your patient information. 

However, EMR software systems have layers of protection tools and security measures to protect hundreds of thousands of files against potential data breaches. With EMRs, you can control who can see the information and permit access only to authorized clinicians and healthcare staff.  

2. Storage and space saving  

Paper documents and files are commonly stored in bulky boxes and cabinets and can take up a lot of space in a room. Other big medical corporations even sometimes opt to rent huge buildings and warehouse facilities to store their paper records. Electronic records efficiently eliminate the hassle of storing files in another facility and gives room for more physical space.  

EMRs are conveniently stored digitally either in a cloud server or in your practice’s local shared network. This also cuts down the time needed to look through countless files in storage and instead lets you pull up all essential patient information in just a few clicks. It’s also easy for papers to deteriorate over time which can make it hard to read through them but EMRs preserve your clinic’s information so they can still be accessed in the long run. 

3. Cost-efficient 

The initial costs of purchasing and setting up an EMR system in your practice may be expensive but it’s a wise investment that lets you save on costs of records over time. Generally, keeping and managing paper documents require more people and physical storage space. 

But aside from the monthly subscription cost that you’re paying to your EMR provider, electronic records incur no additional cost for maintenance and storage. When you’re thinking long-term, EMRs definitely take the win because it greatly reduces money spent on paper charts, labor costs, and operational costs. Studies also show that EMRs can increase your profitability and revenue by simplifying patient billing and reducing denied claims. 

4. Easily accessible  

One of the biggest drawbacks of paper medical information is that they can be hard to acquire. You have to go through a tedious process of requesting and waiting to receive the files so it can be time-consuming especially in emergency situations or when you need to make an urgent clinical decision. 

Since EMRs are safely stored in the digital space, finding essential information is much easier and hassle-free. In addition, any member of the healthcare team can have remote access to the data simply by logging in to their network so it’s faster to make a treatment or clinical decision. 

5. More accurate chart notes and doctor’s prescriptions 

Illegible penmanship on charts, notes, and medical prescriptions is another disadvantage of a paper-based system. When a physician’s handwriting is hard to read, this can increase chances for medication errors and treatment mistakes and can compromise the quality of care that your patient receives. 

Many EMRs today offer standardized templates for doctor’s notes and prescriptions to simplify the process of prescribing and eliminate any form of confusion. EMRs are also conveniently linked with pharmacies, allowing for electronic transmission and sharing of prescriptions to assure that patients get the right medication. 

6. Minimizes human errors 

Studies report that there is a higher possibility of committing medical errors with paper records which can compromise your ability to provide quality care and service. This is because there’s greater need for administrative personnel to handle and look over all the records. There’s also the lack of robust security which makes paper files more exposed to tampering and misplacing. 

However, many EMR softwares these days have a user-friendly interface which makes it easy to operate and handle. Some software systems also employ artificial intelligence and smart algorithms to minimize any chances of oversight on your part. AI systems in EMRs also provide support to physicians so they can reach more accurate diagnosis and come up with better treatment plans.

In addition, EMRs increase overall productivity of your health care staff and employees. By reducing the amount of time and effort spent on paper filing, EMRs are greatly beneficial for streamlining daily workflow processes, enhancing patient management, and providing better patient satisfaction. 

How To Choose The Best EMR Solution For Your Practice 

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The first step in selecting an EMR system is to identify your current needs and objectives. Most EMR softwares in the market come with different attractive features but you want to choose the one that has the right set of attributes that will be useful for your medical or aesthetic practice. Here are some of the must-have features for your EMR: 

  • Pre-made and customizable templates for note taking and documentation
  • Ready-to-sign online consent forms which can be uploaded and stored in the EMR 
  • Easy-to-understand platform for appointment scheduling and seamless coordination with multiple providers 
  • Can send communication alerts and booking reminders to patients from the EMR platform 
  • Online conferencing via Zoom for convenient telemedicine and digital consultation 
  • HIPAA-compliant servers and networks to assure patient confidentiality and information safety 
  • Provides online data backups to secure critical information to prepare for emergencies

Get The Best EMR For Your Aesthetic Practice With Calysta 

Thanks to digital technologies, many health organizations and hospital facilities have built a reliable network system where they can securely store and access important patient files and information. Calysta EMR offers an all-in-one solution for your aesthetic services and management needs. 

We provide innovative solutions and state-of-the-art program features for many medical and aesthetic providers. Our EMR tools and software can help transform your service and provide an improved experience for your patients and doctors. Contact us today and sign up for a free trial.

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