Gone are the days when doctors had to struggle through folders and bunches of papers to find crucial information about medical history of a patient. Enter 21st Century , Electronic Health records are replacing and helping efficient healthcare delivery .
An EHR ,a digital version of the traditional paper-based charts used by doctors to record medical information for an individual is now a known entity. The EMR represents a medical record within a single facility, such as a doctor’s office or a clinic. What is still not well understood is the differentiation between EMR and EHR’S and how it can affect population health outcomes. This is what differentiates EHR’s Or Electronic health records from EHR’s which extend to cover medical and clinical records across multiple facilities ,providers, hospitals, and even across states. Moreover , EHRs help in easy sharing of patient’s medical information with other healthcare providers for the patient.
The wider angle – Brighter picture for population health
Electronic health records can affect positively the ability to improvise preventive health care in clinical settings across communities.
Public health notifiable disease reporting can be automated, requiring lesser manual entry. EHRs can also act as public health surveillance for chronic diseases, recording past medical history for future references and as records. After providers transmit public and population health data to public health officials, it can also be used by the government to plan Newer health schemes and releasing Medicines in primary health centres accordingly. Surveillance research can not only track changes in disease rates and emerging outbreaks but also explain the reasons for observed disparities and trends in this disease burden.
How can it help efficient health care delivery?
With electronic health information providers can be reminded when patients need immunizations or need to be sent reminders for preventive/follow-up care. Also a doctor can keep track of the patients health information across villages and towns where it can be recorded by health workers.
EHRs can also alert potentially dangerous drug interactions), verify medications and dosages (to ensure that pharmacists dispense the right drug), and reduce the need for potentially risky tests and procedures.
Why adopt EHR ?
Population health management encompasses assimilation of large amounts of health data from clinical screenings ,labs, ICD 9 or 10 coding, medication lists, vaccines, vital signs, etc.
The idea of a fully developed EHR is having a single record that includes all of a patient’s health information: that is up to date, complete, and accurate. This puts providers in a better position to work with their patients to make good decisions , to give the best possible care, whether during a routine check up or in a medical emergency.
For Public, public health-oriented EHR systems offer increased engagement with the health-care system, more ownership of data, and improved health outcomes.
For clinicians, a public health-oriented EHR system could reduce the paperwork burden of public health reporting and provide decision support about community-level trends that could aid in diagnosis and treatment choice.
For Institution, automated reporting would reduce paperwork burdens and data input costs as a trend continues toward more reporting requirements
So to conclude ,the challenges in Implentation and extent of success of EHR’S cannot be overlooked but . But the Incentives for all stakeholders are aligned in improving the public health functionality of EHR systems.