What are the Pros and cons of Electronic Medical Records?

What are the pros and cons of electronic medical records systems

? Electronic medical records are a modern way of storing medical information related to patients. It is a modern system designed to replace the old fashioned method of writing notes to be stored in paper files. The system allows information to be uploaded and stored on to a web based system and ultimately shared by doctors and patients, both of whom will have access from any location in the world.

But as with any modern technological based system, electronic medical records have their advantages and disadvantages, and although it might seem infinitely more efficient to store medical information on a computer system, not everyone is convinced electronic medical records are a great idea. So what are the pros and cons of electronic medical records?

What are the pros of electronic medical records?

1.    Medical information is stored on a computerized system that is easily accessible to doctors and patients from multiple locations and therefore the quality of care available to patients is automatically enhanced due to the greater level of information resources on offer.
2.    Doctors will have greater access to other medical professionals when making a diagnosis for a particular patient.
3.    The system gives patients greater control over what information is recorded in their medical records as they have the facility to check their own health records via the system.
4.    When medical records and patient information are stored on an electronic database, it is much easier for individual records to be updated.
5.    Electronic medical records make it easier for patient records to be located and downloaded.
6.    Utilizing electronic medical records means that all the information is kept in one place, thus ensuring workflow procedures are effectively streamlined to run faster and more efficiently.
7.    An electronic medical records system means a more cost effective healthcare service as all the relevant data is stored in one primary location instead of in multiple locations.

What are the cons of electronic medical records?

1.    Electronic medical records systems are more complicated to use than traditional paper based medical records, which means not all medical personnel will find such a system easy to use.
2.    Personnel assigned to update and maintain the system will require extra training to ensure they have the necessary skills.
3.    Specialist staff will need to be employed to ensure the software is kept updated and running smoothly.
4.    Special security procedures will need to be put in place to ensure absolute confidentiality is maintained on patients’ records.
5.    There are many legal issues to consider before allowing access to confidential medical data.

6.    Electronic medical records are only as efficient as those using the system, and if the software from one office is incompatible with that from another office, the EMR system will not function as intended.
7.    Electronic medical records do not always offer enough flexibility in recording personal observations on a patient.
8.    Many believe that having their confidential medical records stored on an electronic system is an invasion of privacy.

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