EHR, or Electronic Health Records, are currently being implemented in many areas of the American healthcare system. This is important because as the use of EHR becomes more and more prevalent, healthcare professionals such as Medical Assistants will be increasingly expected to utilize electronic health records as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. It may be required for all hospitals and offices to have EHR fully installed eventually and all patients to have their personal health records digitized. And while this system means information can be shared between health-care settings, it does raise some concerns as well.
- EHR can dramatically reduce medical prescription errors, of which there are millions each year in the United States.
- When physicians make a referral, they are able to easily forward the patient’s complete medical record and share their comments.
- Reduced appointment wait time due to EHR’s easy sharing capabilities.
- Access for patients to view their own records.
- Privacy concerns, especially due to the fact that the U.S. has already experienced EHR system breaches.
- Has the potential to be slow, unwieldy, and overly complicated.
- Difficulty in customizing the EHR system to fit each healthcare organization’s needs.
- High costs are involved in start-up, implementation, training, and maintenance. Many smaller facilities and offices might not be able to afford a system at all.
While not all healthcare facilities are currently required to have EHR, people in the health professions would do well to familiarize themselves with the various capabilities of electronic medical records, as well as their various benefits and drawbacks.