Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records

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Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) is understood as a computerized database concerned with storing all personal and medical information about a patient’s care, including billing data by the care providers. The information is usually stores in the database, which is accessible from everywhere through a network. EMRs contain patients’ information such as treatment plans, medications, medical history, immunization dates, laboratory tests and results, allergies, and radiology images. The system allows healthcare practitioners to view the entire history of the patient and tack down their medical history (Tierney, 2013). The system also ensures that the information used by practitioners is accurate, and it speeds up doctor collaboration when it comes to patient care, thus improving the quality of care for their patients. This paper will focus on EMRs in the healthcare industry. Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay.

Characteristics of EMRs

EMRs have many valuable features that help healthcare institutions to streamline care for their patients. First, the system has easy patient scheduling, also known as appointment-setting capabilities, which enable office staff to schedule patients, chose a reason for visit, and register them (Jaana & Bahensky, 2012). The system sends an automatic appointment reminder to healthcare professionals to ensure better collections and reduce no-shows. Second, the system tracks patient workflows. It is always important for healthcare institutions to understand how patients move through their practice in order to maximize their productivity. Therefore, the system tracks patient workflow, thus reducing the number of patients in the waiting room.Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay.


Third, EMRs have task management capabilities. This means that they help healthcare institutions with mundane and ancillary tasks that inundate their daily schedule. The system reminds healthcare practitioners to review lab results, sign notes, answer patient messages, and approve medications. Because the system provides healthcare professionals with their schedules, they don’t waste precious time waiting by fax machines or looking for lost charts and patient information. Fourth, EMRs increase the speed of the patient charting process, thus allowing healthcare professionals to see more patients during the day. The system makes patient history, such as allergies, medications, immunizations, existing problems, and other important information easily accessible (Jo & Lee, 2010).

Fifth, EMRs provide templates and order sets for healthcare professionals while treating patients. This means that the system ensures that healthcare professionals treat patients with similar conditions by use of sets and templates, thus saving time. Sixth, the system allows healthcare practitioners to have real-time access to financial data, thus enabling them to make the right decisions for their practice. Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay. Finally, the EMRs are simple to use, attractive, and intuitive user interface. They are designed in such a manner that they are natural and appealing to the eyes. With drag-and-drop capabilities, including the minimal screen opening, the system allows healthcare staff to go through the system with a few numbers of mouse clicks (Lurio & Calman, 2010).

Processes supported by EMRs

EMRs support clinical processes by allowing information sharing among various participants in different locations. Clinical processes are known for their great communication, including corporation among nurses, physicians, and other staff members. Therefore the work of EMRs is to support these processes by allowing the participants to share information among them. Due to the rapidly changing and new requirements, a sound system is the one that is continuously evolving to meet the needs of the users. The system provides an excellent tool for measuring the clinical processes, thus acts as an opportunity for improving the quality of care. It is considered as a tool for improving the safety and quality of the clinical process (Damberg, McCurdy, & Adams, 2010).

The system provides financial and clinical information, which helps in achieving patient costing and assists in monitoring the usage of various departments by a patient. The system also supports the decision-making process in that it performs part of the data processing after converting the patient’s information into relevant information (Holroyd-Leduc, Sykes, & Quan, 2011). It ensures that healthcare organizations adhere to various guidelines, thus improving care quality and reducing penalties.

The EMRs are mostly used by clinicians to access information about patients during diagnosis and treatment. The system helps physicians to pursue high-quality improvement programs that were impossible with the paper-based records. They are also used by nurses when monitoring and caring for the patients while at the hospital. The system also used by the management for healthcare system planning and quality control decisions. Finally, the system is used by researchers to collect information concerning the industry and providing solutions on how the quality of health care can be improved (Payne, 2010). Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay.

Benefits of EMRs

EMRs reduce paperwork and storage issues within the healthcare industry. Before the introduction of the EMRs, staff and clinicians used to spend almost the whole day filling out forms and processing them. The system has streamlined various routine tasks in the industry. Also, the amount of storage has significantly reduced due to a reduction in the paperwork (Damberg & Adams, 2010). In addition, the system has improved the quality of care in the healthcare industry as it allows healthcare professionals to exchange information about their patients in real-time. Up-to-date, thorough, and accurate information leads to a higher quality of care due to reduced errors, and better diagnosis. The system also helps patients manage their health and participate fully in their wellbeing. It improves patient safety in that the system decides on the best drugs for patients after checking for dangerous drug interactions (Damberg & Adams, 2010).

Healthcare institutions will obtain financial incentives after procuring the EMRs. The process of procuring the essential equipment, training staff, and implementation is very costly for healthcare institutions. Fortunately, financial institutions will obtain financial incentives to recoup their initial investment. The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and the Medicare EHR Incentive Program provides an opportunity for healthcare organizations to earn incentives associated with the adoption of EHRs technology. Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay. The system has led to increased efficiency and productivity of the healthcare institutions. The system allows faster access to patient information and enhances communication among clinicians, pharmacies, diagnostic centers, and insurance providers. This leads to significant time saving, thus translating to higher productivity (Okpala, 2013).

Finally, the EMR system leads to better patient care. What is considered suitable for healthcare institutions is also regarded as good for the patients. The improved access to the patient’s records means that paperwork is reduced, thus reducing the time patients spend at the doctor’s office (Chen, 2010). The doctors will see the medical history of the patient and determine which treatment was successful. The patients will be less susceptible to imaging procedures or duplicative tests because the results are in one place. As a result of better coordination among healthcare professionals, the accuracy of diagnosis is improved, and there is better patient care for the patients (Chen, 2010).

Concerns/risks about the usage of EMRs

The major concern associated with the use of the EMR system is privacy and security. The concern is categorized into two; first, there are concerns about individual organizations sharing sensitive information of clients. Second, there are concerns about the flow of confidential information throughout the industry. The inappropriate release is when authorized users intentionally or unintentionally disseminate information to third parties or when outsiders such as criminals break in and steal important information. On the other hand, the systematic concern is the sharing of patients’ information to individuals and organizations that may act against the patient’s interest or may invade their privacy. The two categories of concerns arise as a result of flows of information across the healthcare system, among and between payers, providers, and secondary users without the patients’ knowledge (Perera, Foster, & Willison, 2011). Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay.

There is also a concern about the information held by healthcare institutions. The information held by the institutions is vulnerable to external and internal agents who are interested in violating the confidentiality and security policies of the individual organizations. Internal agents with authorizations to access the system may abuse the privilege by accessing the sensitive clients’ information for inappropriate uses or reasons. Some may even leak the information to the press or friends and family members of the patients. External agents are not allowed to access the system, but they always find their own means of accessing it, and manipulate data or render the system inoperable (Perera, Foster, & Willison, 2011).


Apart from the privacy and security issues, other factors that affect the use of EMRs are lack of data standards, the transience of vendors, lack of trained clinicians, costs of adoption, and few vendors in the marketplace. Countermeasure for dealing with the privacy and security issues involves the health care organizations assessing their systems to identify the threats they are vulnerable to and then develop various technical and organizational mechanisms, which deter abuses (Perera, Foster, & Willison, 2011).


EMRs stores all personal and medical information of patients, such as treatment plans, medications, medical history, immunization dates, laboratory tests and results, allergies, and radiology images. The data is accessible from anywhere in the industry through a network. With the system, healthcare professionals can view patients’ medical histories, thus providing them with the right treatment. The characteristics of the system include easy patient scheduling, tracks patient workflows, task management capabilities, simple, and attractive. The benefits of the system for the healthcare industry are less paperwork, improved quality of care, increased efficiency, and better patient care. The concerns that affect the use of the system are primarily, privacy and security concerns. Characteristics of Electronic Medical Records Essay.