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Why Electronic Medical Record (emr) Is Better Than Paper Records

Autor:   •  March 17, 2011  •  Term Paper  •  2,260 Words (10 Pages)  •  1,738 Views

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Compared to paper records, utilizing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system is a rapid and efficient method to preserve critical medical information. The art and science of medicine is practiced within a very information-driven environment and most of the information in a clinical setting is based on patient records and related information. Studies have repeatedly proven that paper records are costly, cumbersome, easily misplaced and cannot be used for any meaningful decision analysis. Before I get into that I will describe these disadvantages very briefly:

Pragmatic and logistical issues: Paper undergoes wear and tear very easily. Filing, retrieval of files and the re-filing of paper records are very labor intensive methods with which to store patient information. Plus if a record is checked out for one department another department can't access the chart. The impact of not having immediate access to key information in emergency situations can be serious; it may cost the life of the patient in extreme circumstances. Using a paper-based system requires a lot of physical space to store all the patient records. This may not affect physicians as much as hospitals as they see fewer patients in their private practices, it still is a problem though as it is costly. Hospitals sometimes see hundreds of patients a day, of which a few of them will be new patients and thus hospitals have to create and store these hard copy files. They have to be in a location not far from the hospital or within the hospital itself, this could take up valuable bed space, or space for more equipment

Redundancy issues: This occurs when we have duplicate copies of a patient's medical record in different locations. Making an update to one instance of the patient's medical record will not tie up to the other copies. It becomes very difficult to maintain consistency. The patient's data becomes scattered across various location. Also if the patient visits various institutions he/she will be required to open up new files at every institution and the institutions will not have access to information available in those other files, in an emergency the patient may forget a single page and thus leave out a valuable piece of information that the attending doctor needs to make a properly informed choice about saving a life.

Influence on clinical research: To research something data needs to be collected and manually analyzed. This is a very cumbersome and tedious process, as if specifics are required (such as: patient must be male, a smoker and weigh between 75-85kgs) they need to be collected manually due to the fact that a lot of institutions store their files in alphabetical order. Researchers would need to go through each file and then pull out this information, and thereafter analyze the data which uses up time unnecessarily.

Passive nature of paper: A paper based record can't tell you if you have made


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