Although medical doctors are specialists with advanced medical methods and technology, we often don’t realize how much technology is truly involved in the practice of medicine today. Electronic health records (EHR, or electronic medical records — EMR) are a form of technology used extensively within the medical industry. Using these information systems, doctors have access to all patient medical files and history in a technological interface that can be easily navigated. But besides the convenience, what is the real legacy of electronic health records — on doctors and on patients?
Electronic means of recording data on patients began as early as the 1970s when academic medical centers began to use early web based electronic medical records. As time went on, these systems became standard in the medical profession and more companies started manufacturing online EHR software. These software systems included methods for organizing previously disparate elements of the medical profession, such as billing software, cardiology EMR software, practice management software, medical appointment scheduling, and more. The vision was for a consolidated base of information that doctors could use without having to become computer geniuses.
As electronic medical records software for small practices became more widely available, medical software companies and electronic medical record software providers have been quite successful in spreading EMR software and practice throughout the entire medical industry. In 2011, 55% of physicians were using electronic health records, and adoption of electronic medical health records software increased 21% between 2012 and 2013. The federal government has also contributed to the success of online EMR software, most notably through Obama’s incentive program that offers higher payments to health care providers that utilize EMR/EHR according to “meaningful use criteria.” In 2013, 69% of physicians reported intending to participate in the incentive program. More recently, three quarters of physicians with EHR systems reported that their family practice EMR met this criteria.
Today, electronic health records have become the industry standard for all medical professionals. There are many companies that make and sell electronic health records, and they often can be consulted in advance about electronic medical records software benefits and how they can implement the software into a physician’s practice. The best companies in the field will be able to offer top notch support as well as replace the prior record system in a cohesive manner.
Do you think electronic health records are the way of the future? Let us know.