Understanding the basics of EHRs

Understanding the basics of EHRs

If you are interested in implementing electronic health records into your practice, it's important to understand the basics. According to Health IT, EHRs are defined as electronic or computerized versions of a patient's paper chart. However, they are much more than that once they've been fully implemented and are up and running in your practice. In fact, they provide an enormous amount of information without creating a trail of loose papers along the way.

Electronic health records make patient information available instantly, regardless of if the patient's location or doctor has changed. The system puts together all of the necessary information on the patient and makes it accessible to whomever needs to see it within the means of the practice.

How electronic health records work
This system provides a doctor with information on the patient's medical history, past diagnoses, medications, allergies, test results and more. It also offers access to tools that can make the visit smoother for both the patient and the practice as a whole.

One of the most convenient parts of electronic health records is that they can be created, managed and accessed by providers – only ones authorized, of course – throughout more than one health care organization so that the information is streamlined across the board. An EHR can provide information from a doctor's office, a school, pharmacy, laboratory and an emergency facility all in one.

Not only can EHRs make the visit easier on the patient, but the electronic charts can create a better workflow in the practice and increase the organization and accuracy of data and information streamlining throughout the system.

Other potential benefits of electronic health records
While implementing EHRs into a practice can benefit the patient tremendously; it can benefit the practice as a whole in many ways as well, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. For example, EHRs can improve productivity and finances by pulling fewer charts, reducing transcription costs and making improvements to the billing within the system.

The quality of care is also improved during EHR implementation and usage. The quick access to patient information provides a smoother start to the visit, which helps the practice get to business without wasting anyone's time.

Not only does it improve the quality of care provided to the patient, but EHRs can improve the jobs of those working inside the practice. For example, less time will be spent completing tedious tasks such as filing paper records or chasing charts. It can also improve the communication flow within the office, thus making everyone's job more smooth and steady.

At the end of the day, the point of implementing electronic health records into the workflow of a practice is to provide the patient with the safest, most efficient visit for the wellbeing of their health. Transforming a practice into a workplace that uses EHRs can improve the quality of care, thus making patients the No. 1 priority.