Computers and software have become an integral part of healthcare delivery wherein they play a crucial role in improving healthcare professionals’ productivity and thereby treating more patients with improved quality care. Electronic health records (EHRs) facilitate managing giant volumes of data generated by various medical facilities, clinics and hospitals; without appropriate EHR systems, it is extremely challenging to create and store the huge data of different healthcare facilities, which cannot be imagined in these days of high numbers of patient walk-ins and teleconsultations.
When the right EHR solutions are chosen and implemented efficiently, the facilities can save money, and the healthcare staff’s time and communicate effectively with various parties involved. Even in such a scenario, some healthcare practices are unable to understand the significance of EHRs and are implementing some generic software to manage their data and operations and thereby meet the government regulations without realizing the need for a customized EHR system that caters to their unique needs. As a healthcare facility, you must know the pros and cons of employing EHRs so as to make the most of it. Here listed are some benefits and drawbacks of EHRs that you must consider while analyzing a particular EHR solution and adapting it for your facility.
Pros of EHRs:
- Financial benefits: The foremost benefit of implementing a certified EHR solution for your healthcare facility is that you can obtain financial incentives offered by Medicare and Medicaid by demonstrating ‘meaningful use’. Further, some other financial incentives can be achieved by documenting your compliance with value-based care initiatives.
- Time-saving benefits: By using appropriate EHRs that address your facility’s needs, you can get pre-designed templates that can save a lot of your employees’ time while keying in patient information. Whether your patient encounters are related to general practice or speciality services, the pre-designed templates help your staff to input accurate information as per the practice requirements and this will save a lot of time because duplication of the same work is eliminated where different types of information are required for different services.
- Patient-access benefits: By including the patient portal in your EHR system, you can boost patient engagement and simultaneously save your and their time because patient portals facilitate information input by patients themselves which they can do from the comfort of their home as well without waiting at the facility for long hours. Further, this facility eliminates the redundancy in filling multiple forms.
Cons of EHRs:
- Safety issues: Employing EHRs will require extra diligence on your part and especially, your IT department that handles the implementation and other processes of EHRs. Electronic health records contain extremely sensitive and personally identifiable information of scores of patients and it is your responsibility to maintain the safety and security of such information from criminal hackers. You must ensure that the system is secured with robust safety measures to comply with the required laws and to address contingencies such as server problems, natural disasters, etc.
- Timely updates and best practices: Another important aspect that needs your attention is getting timely updates and best practices from the EHR solutions provider. Without regular updates and support from the software developer, you may face challenges when you upscale your operations or when you have technical glitches.
After carefully analyzing all these pros and cons of EHRs, you must prudently invest in the right EHR solution that the developer upgrades in accordance with industry best practices and government regulations. Choose an EHR solutions provider who has a proven track record in the industry and provides the best services.