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Role of EHR in Patient Safety

July 8, 2021 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team


Electronic Health Records (EHR)s hold immense potential for healthcare professionals as well as for patients. Electronic Health Records(EHR)s are necessary to improving patient safety. As data is increasing day by day, maintaining large files and medical records of patients has become a problem among health organizations. EHR plays a vital role in maintaining and increasing patient safety.

Keep reading to know why we need EHR software to maintain patient records and what role EHR plays in patient safety?

In the last few years, medical practices regardless of any size and specialty, are using medical software to manage their patients and care providers. As a result, Electronic Health Records (EHR)s are becoming more popular and the use of EHR software is on the rise. This jump in the adoption of EHR is because there are lots of benefits of electronic health records that we'll cover here but first understand what an EHR means.

What is EHR?

The goal of EHR or Electronic Health Records is to build up patient digital documents and medical charts. These are updated patient medical records that can be accessed in real-time by allowed users in a digital format. EHRs contain details of medical history, prescriptions, allergies, treatment plans, lab results, medical images of patients. In addition to the above, they also give doctors and care providers tools to help them make decisions about a patient's care.

Key Benefits of EHR

EHR offers multiple advantages - they help to give quality care to patients and streamline your workflow. They also allow doctors to interchange information with one another remotely and in real-time, making sure every clinician dealing with a patient has a current, complete and accurate file. In addition to this, they are highly customizable and can be configured according to your needs.

EHR helps care providers give quality care by allowing quick access to patient records resulting in more efficient care. EHR provides doctors with health analytics that help recognize patterns, predict diagnosis and suggest potential treatment options. These analytics lead to more successful overall patient results the first time, rather than just relying on trial-and-error methods.

On the patient's side, they have access to patient portals, which give them access to historical medical information such as lab and imaging results, prescriptions, investigations, and more. Patients can interact with their physicians by sharing notes, exchanging instant messages, and even video calling.

Role of EHR in Patient Safety

The contribution of electronic health records (EHRs) to patient safety goes far beyond sending the correct prescription to the right pharmacy. EHRs can help ensure patient safety beyond a continuum, beginning with appointment scheduling and continuing through the prescription pickup process.

Keeping patient information safe is a major challenge for all healthcare organizations. With EHR it becomes easy to maintain the information, improve accountability and security with audit trails that detail who has accessed the medical records and when, and what the individuals did while accessing each record. EHR allows only authorized persons to view information. With Patient portals included within EHR, patients can view, read and give information and take suggestions from their doctors. This gives patients the power to take charge of their health journey and keep them engaged in treatment.

Ultimately, EHRs help patients and physicians with medication reconciliation. A medication list compiled by EHR can be simply updated and retrieved whenever patient visits.

Now, let's look in detail how EHR help in improving Patient Safety:

  • Patient Education

    Resources are readily available for care providers to provide patient education materials electronically via secure messaging depending on a chosen diagnosis. Educational materials may contain customized medications and disease state information that can help patients get started on learning more about their conditions.

  • Medication Access

    Automated medication is now possible with cloud-based technology including brand name, biosimilars, and generic equivalents.

  • Medication Adherence

    Medications cost and cost-saving alternatives, also known as real-time prescription benefits (RTPB) checks, are given at the point of prescribing for qualified patients to help improve prescription adherence.

  • Patient Portal

    Patient portals allow patients to actively engage in their healthcare journey by giving them access to their records. Patients can view their appointments, procedures, prescription, lab results, medical images, and care plans.

  • Chronic Care Management

    Sending and receiving records or referrals electronically, also known as health information exchange, only with few clicks. Ensuring that patient health information is received and delivered properly can help speed diagnosis and treatment plans to keep transitions of care in motion.

  • E-prescription

    E-prescription allows physicians to electronically change or even cancel prescriptions, which can save time while making sure patients are taking the appropriate medications.

Summary

Errors made by humans are the main challenge for a patient's safety, well clinicians try not to make any mistake but they frequently have their attention pulled in several directions at once. On the other side, computers can be trained and programmed to look for mistakes to help to avoid problems, this is the main reason why Electronic health records (EHR)s are required to make huge improvements in patient safety.

EHR is a big boost to patient safety as new staff members come on shift and are unaware of problems with patients. With EHR new nurses or staff members can view all the patient information in one place. EHR can help avoid human error with real-time data entry. The healthcare industry is slow to adopt new technologies but in near future, we will see EHRs as necessary and a common thing as just other technologies do.

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