Weighing The Pros and Cons of Electronic Health Records
From paper records of the past to a completely electronic database of patient information, electronic health records (EHRs) have completely swept the healthcare world. Not only have they altered the way we access, input and store patient information, they’ve also changed the way we interact with patients.
While EHRs have certainly made the access and interoperability of patient records possible, are they eroding the relationship between physician and patient? We’re here to provide the pros and cons of EHR as well as how to determine EHR’s impact on your practice.
How EHR Can Benefit Your Practice
There’s no question that the widespread implementation of EHR has changed the medical game forever. So let’s take a look at some positive contributions that EHR has on medical practices.
For one, EHRs allow for the better mobility of patient records. In the past, paper records required the physical transport of documents to get from place to place. Now, multiple vendors can access records with the help of EHRs—as long as they are granted access.
Example: If a primary doctor needs to send over records or patient data to a specialist, this can be done at the click of a button, made possible by your EHR.
Another benefit of EHRs is the opportunity for patient engagement. In many practices, patients are able to access records, schedule their own appointments and more using EHR. This often leads to higher patient satisfaction and thus, a more profitable practice.
Implications of EHR
According to a survey from ehrintelligence.com, 54% of physicians believe that EHR software negatively impacts their relationship with their patients. That’s over half of the physicians surveyed.
Which is why we can’t help but wonder–if EHRs are meant to enhance the patient experience, why do so many physicians believe it’s doing the opposite? The answer lies in the question. Electronic health record software is meant to do just that–enhance the experience, not completely overwhelm it.
Though EHRs come with many benefits, they also come with some big implications. Because EHRs are an advanced software, they require more finely tuned input of data. This means physicians are required to check more boxes, fill out lots of form fills and ultimately check and recheck their notes for any errors.
As a result, physicians spend more time facing their computers and inputting notes, resulting in less time spent with their patients. Next, let’s take a look at how to test the productivity of EHR within your own practice.
How Is EHR Affecting Your Practice?
In order to be sure that your EHR is enhancing the patient-provider relationship–not damaging it–it’s important to assess the current situation. Below are a few things to consider when evaluating your EHRs impact on patient interaction.
Does EHR make the lives of your patients easier?
Many practices allow patients access to their own records and schedule appointments via phone or computer using their EHR system. While this can be a great way to make your patients’ lives easier, a confusing or difficult to use system could also be doing the opposite.
Are you and your staff involved with the EHR design?
Lack of involvement in the initial set up is a huge reason that physicians struggle to work effectively with EHR. In this case, your practice may need to consider in-depth training for you and your staff on your EHR design.
Are you spending more time with your EHR than you are with your patients?
Spending more time editing and charting notes than actually caring for your patients is a huge sign that your EHR is negatively affecting your practice. In this case, it may be time to outsource some of your services–such as medical transcription.
Every practice is different, so it’s important to consider what’s working for your practice and your patients. However, no matter what kind of impact it’s having on your practice, EHR isn’t going away any time soon. Therefore, it’s important that you’re aware of any issues that your EHR is causing, and to address them accordingly.
Medical Transcription Services As The Solution
EHR is a complex system that requires careful initial and ongoing training for its users. Often, physicians find that their relationship with their patients is being hindered by EHR simply because of their frustration with the system. In other words, physicians often need more time with entering notes and editing within the system.
If this sounds like your practice, it may be time to enlist some help. A medical transcription service could be the answer to your problem. DataMatrix Medical offers transcription solutions to physicians who want to spend more time treating patients and less time charting notes.
Additionally, we can transition seamlessly into whatever EHR system you utilize, eliminating any chance for errors in documentation. As a result, you can spend more time doing your job and less time making edits and changes to records.
If your practice could use some help with your EHR and transcription methods, take a look at our guide, Optimize Clinical Productivity Through Outsourcing to learn how DataMatrix Medical can help.