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      What is an EMR? | Electronic Medical Records Explained

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      Electronic medical records (EMR) have changed the healthcare landscape. They’ve forever shifted how patients and healthcare providers interact. Many practitioners have questions concerning what these systems do, and why this and related technology has become necessary. 

      EMR manages the electronic version of a patient’s medical record. These contain information related to the patient's medical history, diagnoses, and treatments for a particular provider. They can come in many forms and capabilities, ranging from a scanned copy of paper charts to a multi-field, multi-drop down, dynamic form.  

      For a substantial portion of the medical community, EMR also refers to the various software that healthcare providers rely on to supply service to patients. The reason for this system category expansion is based on the need to: 

      • Track patient data over time. 
      • Provide easy notifications for practices to know when patients are due for screenings, checkups, and other services. 
      • Observe a practice’s operations and cashflow.  

      What are the Benefits of Using EMR Software at a Medical Practice or Hospital? 

      Some of the most noticeable benefits of using an EMR are: 

      • Reducing patient information administration time and cost (vs. paper files and multiple practice operations system data keying). 
      • Allowing for e-prescribing. 
      • Automatically scanning for drug interactions. 
      • Helping with the referral process across clinics and forms of care. 
      • HIPAA compliant, preventing fines and errors. 

      In addition, the usage of EMR software makes the transfer of patient data to other branches of healthcare involved in a patient’s care a more simplified, streamlined process. 

      What are the Benefits of EMR Software for Patients?  

      Effective software allows for the easy sharing of relevant patient data, as well as supplying access for patients outside of office hours through Patient Portals. With multiple layers of security, patients can feel secure in accessing their health information when needed. 

      Who Uses EMR Software?  

      Today, private practices, medical groups and hospitals are reevaluating EMR software’s usefulness, because of the need to share patient information with colleagues outside of their organizations.  

      Increasingly, behavioral health practices and physical therapy clinics are two trending categories for EMR and electronic healthcare records (EHR) software systems.  

      While both software classifications have functionality in common, EHR is becoming the favored of the two, largely due to additional capabilities healthcare professionals want, namely the ability to collaborate with other medical professionals through sharing patient’s digital records. It supplies a single-source system to better understand and treat the scope of care they need toward recovery. 

      Whitepaper on the Benefits of Relying on Specialty Specific EHR Systems

      The Future of Patient Health Records Software for Practices 

      With the movement toward EHR systems’ HIPAA compliance mandates and healthcare provider’s increasing partnerships, here’s an overview of EHR functionality. 

      These systems create, update, and house a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. They are real-time records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. EHRs hold the medical and treatment histories of patients, much like EMRs. Though EHRs are capable of functionality beyond standard clinical data collected in a single provider’s organization. Their strength for practitioners is that these systems supply an expanded overview of a patient’s inclusive care from multiple sources. EHRs have become a vital part of physical and behavioral health IT, and can: 

      • Provide an encompassing view of a patient’s medical history, including laboratory and test results, lab results, condition diagnosis, treatment plans, medications, and progress notes. 
      • Enable use of evidence-based tools to help providers make decisions about a patient’s care path. 
      • Automate and streamline provider workflow, from scheduling encounters to reimbursement billing

      One of the key features of EHR software is that health information can be created and managed by authorized providers in a digital format. From there, it’s capable of being shared with other providers across multiple healthcare organization as needed. These entities often include emergency facilities, specialists, laboratories, and pharmacies – containing documentation from all clinicians involved in a patient’s care. 

      EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare, that strengthens relationships between patients and providers. The data, and its ease of availability, enables providers to make better decisions and provide optimal care. It also involves the patient in the process, allowing them to access records to follow as directed. 

      Benefits of Using an EMR Over Paper Charts

      • Reducing the incidence of medical errors by improving the accuracy, clarity, and accessibility of their records.
      • Savings on office supplies (ink, paper, etc.).
      • The ability to securely share sensitive medical information.
      • Having patient health information available reduces delays in treatment, keeping patients informed and guided to better decision-making.  
      • Facilitating both on-location and telehealth functionality. 

      To see EHR in action, evaluate it for your behavioral health practice here

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