Electronic Medical Records Pros and Cons List

As the world moves closer and closer to a day when everything is stored electronically, the majority of medical practitioners are opting to make the switch to electronic medical records. With a massive volume of patient data to keep track of, electronic medical records are much easier to manage. Some medical organizations may still not be able to decide whether to make the shift. That’s why it is crucial to fully examine the pros and cons before making this decision. The time has come to closely examine the advantages of disadvantages of electronic medical records.

List of Pros of Electronic Medical Records

1. Consolidation Of Information
Instead of paper records that require you to store a patient’s information in a variety of places, electronic medical records allow a medical organization to consolidate all of the needed data in one convenient location. When a medical organization’s staff is able to gather and access data quickly, this allows a practitioner to greatly improve the quality of care that they are able to offer their patients.

Having the ability to access a patient’s prior medical history and all other pertinent information on any computer with the medical organization’s network is a boon for patients and staff alike. A medical organization saves valuable time, allowing them to become much more profitable. A patient gains crucial peace of mind, knowing that their medical practitioner has the capability to collect their data and store it for safe keeping and future usage.

2. Improved Preventative Medicine
A medical organization should always be focused on preventing their patients from getting sick, as opposed to reacting to it after the fact. With electronic medical records, the physician can analyze all of the data that they have on hand for a particular patient and chart a course of treatment that keeps them healthy for a longer period of time.

Health screenings are something that should always be taken seriously and with electronic medical records, doctors can use the system to gather key information. If they have patients with certain ailments who have not had their proper check ups for the year, they can call the patients and ask them to schedule an appointment. This helps to nip potential problems in the bud.

3. Less Errors
Electronic medical records allow physicians to place all of their lab and imaging orders without having to write them down by hand. We’ve all heard the jokes about doctors’ handwriting, so eliminating all possibility that a lab order or prescription could be misread by the person who is filling it is a major plus for worried patients.

Storing records electronically also gives multiple parties the ability to access the information, which cuts down on the chances of an error. Any changes that can be made to the current system that reduce the chances of harm coming to a patient must be considered to be a advantage. Cutting down on errors also cuts down on the time it takes to ensure that the patient receives the proper care.

List of Cons of Electronic Medical Records

1. Privacy May Be Compromised
Medical organizations who are unable to follow privacy protocols to the letter risk exposing their patients’ information. Keeping patient records on paper in a filing cabinet like the old days can lead to the violation of privacy. But when electronic medical records are all kept in one place, it makes it all the more simple for a hacker to access all of the patient records in one fell swoop.

Setting up electronic medical records is easy, keeping them safe is not. Unless your organization is willing to hire professionals to provide protection for your electronic records, all of your sensitive patient information could be in jeopardy. Should someone gain access to your database, this could lead to huge problems and even lawsuits from disgruntled patients.

2. Identity Theft
Unfortunately, hackers are a major issue for a variety of businesses. We’ve all read about the leading department stores who have experienced hackers, who were able to get their hands their customers’ personal information and open up new lines of credit in their name. Medical organizations are under the same level of scrutiny and in many cases, the information that they have on hand is even more sensitive.

There are unscrupulous people out there, who have no qualms about getting patient information and using it to their benefit. Paper patient records are also at risk, but with electronic medical records, a person who seeks the information of innocent strangers is able to get personal data on hundreds, or even thousands of people at the same time.

3. Data Can Be Lost
When you keep all of your data in the same place and store it electronically, you could be victimized by one system crash. All it takes is one for a medical practitioner to lose all of their records, with no means of replacing them. One computer crashing at the wrong time and a medical organization could be left scrambling to relocated all of their key patient information.

This can also have dire consequences on patient care, as the medical organization loses their updates on the needs of the patient care. For patients who require constant care and cannot afford lapses in their continuity, electronic medical records can be extremely dangerous. Unless you have the proper backup for all of your sensitive patient materials, there is always a chance that you could lose all of their information and be unable to provide help for them in a crisis situation.