There has been an ongoing debate in the last decade over the benefits of EMR integration in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions. An EMR system is essentially a database of medical records created by healthcare providers. While there are certainly many advantages to the use of EMR systems in the healthcare industry, many people remain to question how effective they are in providing quality healthcare to patients. Below is a list of the pros and cons of EMR integration in healthcare institutions:
Benefits of EMR Systems
- Easy Access to Medical Information- The use of EMR systems can significantly improve the speed and efficiency of accessing medical information in clinics and hospitals, as they are stored in one database that can be accessed by a network of devices.
- Ease of Information Dissemination- EMR systems also makes it easier for healthcare providers to share information among each other. A patient’s complete medical history can be sent electronically from one department to another, which does not only speed up the dissemination of information but also cuts down the costs of sending documents through fax or courier.
- Unlimited Storage- An EMR system can host anywhere from thousands to millions of medical information. Traditional paper medical records required the use of storage cabinets, which needs a large amount of physical space to be stored. EMR systems saves space by storing all information digitally and eliminates the need to have to browse through file after file of patient information whenever a particular document is needed.
- Accuracy- Many professionals question the efficiency of computer systems when it comes to providing accurate information. While computerized information is much readable than handwritten records, there is still an evident risk of mixing up data especially when it has to be put in the system in bulk.
- Cost- Small-scale clinics often hesitate to shift from the use of paper medical records to EMR because of the initial costs it requires to computerize large amounts of medical information.
- Security Issues- Perhaps the most evident disadvantage of EMR systems is the evident risk it poses to the confidentiality of patient information. Since data is stored and transferred electronically, it is easy to tamper with existing information or steal patient information from a computerized system.