What is EMR? : Benefits, Types, EMR vs EHR

The Indian healthcare system is rapidly moving towards the digitalization of healthcare, and electronic medical records (EMR) are a vital part of digital healthcare. The Government of India has already launched the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). The mission aims “to create a national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner, that provides a wide range of data, information, and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems, and ensures the security, confidentiality, and privacy of health-related personal information.” Clearly, one of the biggest objectives of NDHM includes the digital recording, storage, and assessment of patient’s health data and other medical information pertaining to healthcare delivery. This creates the need for EMR and associated technologies that can record and maintain EMR.

What are Electronic Medical Records?

Medical data is broadly classified into three parts which are used interchangeably. They are Electronic medical records (EMR), electronic health records (EHR), and personal health records (PHR). EMR is a health information technology solution such as software or a platform that is used by a healthcare provider to record all patient diagnoses and treatment.  In brief, EMRs are digitalized versions of medical paper charts of a patient’s treatment. These are usually transactional in nature, the solutions are used to record medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, and other information related to the current treatment of a patient. The technologies which are used by Government initiatives and healthcare providers to maintain such health records are known as EMR software or solutions. 

Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records (EMR) is not only beneficial for the patients, but it also has numerous benefits for healthcare providers and doctors. 

For Physicians

Physicians benefit from electronic medical records in the following ways. 

Improves organization of data.

Across various intersections of patient care, there is a lot of data that a hospital or clinic generates. EMR helps in the integration and organization of data, thereby improving efficiency and enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery.

Help keep physicians stay up-to-date

Many times, a patient needing treatment for more than one ailment or a complex surgery undergoes doctor consultation from multiple experts and stakeholders. An EMR is consistently updated with greater accuracy of various medical views and medicines or treatments prescribed. Therefore, it helps physicians stay updated.

Reduces operational costs.

As EMR brings efficiency to the system, it helps minimize operational costs and wastage of resources. It helps by sending reminders and alerts to various stakeholders, making reporting and communication easy. Furthermore, it reduces the time of healthcare providers by digitalizing manual paperwork. 

Scalable.

EMR solutions are software-as-a-source technologies, which are not rigid by nature. The technologies can be scaled up or down as per the requirement of the hospital in a cost-effective manner.

For Patients

EMR offers the following key benefits to patients. 

Easy access to care.

EMR makes access to care easy for patients. For patients, often medical knowledge and information are too complicated to record and understand or remember. With regards to doctor’s consultations, they may not be able to explain and divulge information with accuracy. However, with EMR, not only do patients have access to records but doctors also have access to records, which helps them offer better-informed treatment regimens. 

Keeps data safe and protected.

It is imperative for institutions to safeguard patient data so that the information is only used for legal and right issues. As most EMR systems are backed by cloud technologies, data security and protection are of utmost importance for technologies.   

Easy to track reports.

Needless to explain, EMR makes data and diagnostic report recording easy and therefore it also makes accessing and tracking reports very convenient for stakeholders. 

Promotes preventive healthcare.

With easy access to prescriptions, reports, and clinical advice, the patient is always motivated to monitor their progress and take adequate preventive measures to prevent worsening of health conditions by following the prescribed lifestyle.  

Electronic Medical Records Vs Electronic Health Records vs Personal Health Records

Often EMR is used to refer to all three types of health records, including HER and PHR. EMR is fundamentally the digital recordkeeping of information systems and data generated within a healthcare facility. However, it also includes EHRs which are the medical records of a patient across doctors and healthcare providers.

There are some key differences between EMR and EHR. EMR is usually a digitalized version of clinical charts, including patient treatment information, used by healthcare providers for diagnosis and treatment. It is mostly for hospital and patient use and is not designed for external use. Contrarily, EHR is a digital record of a patient’s health information, and it is integrated for access to other healthcare providers who are authorized by the patient and the Government. It also offers access to tools used by healthcare providers for informed decision-making.   

 PHR is the personal, compiled, and updated copy of health records of a patient-generated for their own records and health management.

Different types of Electronic Medical Records

There are several types of EMRs catering to the specific needs of hospitals and healthcare providers. 

Mac EMR Software. 

It is a software specially designed to work on Mac Operating System (MacOS) or Macintosh Computers. 

Medical Billing Software.

As EMR record the complete patient treatment cycle in a hospital, it can easily be integrated with medical billing systems for the management of claims, billing, payments, and other financial transactions, without requiring to deal with paper-based systems. 

Cloud-Based EMR Software.

Most good EMR SaaS technologies, like KareXpert’s EMR solutions,  are backed by cloud storage technologies. Cloud makes data storage and security more robust by saving all information on remote servers. Furthermore, the technology makes EMR systems more scalable, simple, cost-effective, and easy for secured data sharing.  

Mental Health EMR Software. 

These EMR solutions provide workflows to behavioral and mental health providers and counselors for psychological situations in patient management.  

ONC-Certified EMR Software.  

These are EMR software programs that are certified by the US Government’s Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The EMR software is well tested to ensure they meet ONC standards.

Conclusion

As the world’s healthcare systems go digital, electronic medical records are going to be an important part of these systems. They are not only going to be a boon for patients seeking treatment but also for all the major partners for healthcare, including Government, the insurance sector, and healthcare providers. EMR will be crucial to the future of Indian healthcare, and the industry as a whole needs to accelerate its adoption at speed and at scale. 

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