Electronic Medical Records (EMR): Capabilities and Features

Around 88.2 percent of office-based physicians are using EMR/EHR systems. A wide range of EMR capabilities is driving the extensive use of Electronic Medical Records software. This software not only offers ample space to store patient data but also helps physicians and patients manage their medical billing processes.

EMR is capable of e-prescribing, appointment reminders, integrations, seamless data exchange, and much more. Almost all the EMR features are based on what it can and cannot do. Before understanding in-depth about EMR capabilities and features, let’s look at the key differences between EHR and EMR.

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EHR Vs. EMR: What Sets Them Apart?

EMR can be the same as EHR but it functions differently. Electronic medical records are digital copies of patient healthcare records. It may sound the same as that of EHR, but here are a few differences to keep in mind.

  1. Scope of Data: For EMR, the data is collected within a specific healthcare organization, and in the case of EHR the data is collected from varied healthcare organizations, public authorities, specialists, etc. Hence, EHR is also used for population health management.
  2. Scale of Use: The collected data doesn’t go beyond an organization, even if the patient changes his/her physician or clinic. Whereas, the data follows the patient if an EHR software is involved.
  3. Purpose of Use: EMR is used for treatment, care, and diagnosis; EHR is used for clinical decision-making, treatment, and care.

EMR Capabilities and Features

1. Data Storage

A cloud-based EMR is popularly used for data storage as it fixes EMR software issues with little to no downtime, and it provides greater accessibility as well. EMR systems securely store patient information such as medical histories, diagnoses, treatment plans, medications, and test results electronically. This centralized storage ensures quick retrieval of data, benefiting both healthcare providers and patients.

2. Access to Medical Records

Another key EMR capability is that it can facilitate patient’s access to their medical records through secure portals, promoting transparency and enabling individuals to actively participate in their healthcare decisions.

3. Fewer Errors

EMR software is capable of enhancing accuracy by eliminating illegible handwritten notes, minimizing the risk of medication errors due to misinterpretation. EMR capabilities go beyond any conventional methods of reducing errors as they promote consistency in care by standardizing documentation and protocols, reducing variability among healthcare providers.

4. Better Diagnosis and Treatment

EMRs incorporate clinical decision support systems, alerting clinicians to potential diagnoses and treatment options based on evidence-based guidelines. Moreover, EMRs provide healthcare providers with instant access to a patient’s complete medical history, enabling more informed and accurate diagnoses.

5. Avoid Duplicate Tests

If test results are not available on time or are misplaced, then doctors may need to repeat the test. EMRs store records of all the tests, thus making it convenient for physicians to access them whenever they want.

6. Improved Patient Care

This is one of the essential EMR capabilities as patient care is the topmost priority for healthcare organizations. With medical history in the palm of physicians’ hands, they can suggest preventive care measures. Primary care providers can view chart values such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight by monitoring the changes over time.

EMR data can enable primary care providers to create better care plans for chronic disease management, prevention, and screening. Thereby, improving overall patient care.

7. Saves Space

EMR stores all documents in a paperless format, thus healthcare organizations no longer have to look for storage space for files or documents.

8. Optimizes Workflow

EMRs streamline processes by digitizing tasks that were once paper-based, reducing administrative burdens. They enable efficient data entry, retrieval, and sharing of data. Customizable templates and automation tools enhance consistency and speed of documentation.

9. Reduces Operational Expenses

Electronic medical records reduce operational costs by storing data in one place and automating the documentation process such as intake forms.

10. Patient-Physician Communication

EMR features such as chatbots, secured messaging lines, and video conferencing allow physicians and patients to communicate with each other securely. Continuous communication with patients allows providers to not only build trust but also keep track of their medications and treatment.

11. E-prescribing

E-prescribing is one of the EMR features and it helps reduce the risk of errors associated with illegible handwritten prescriptions and provides real-time access to patients’ medication histories, enabling better-informed decisions.

It also includes safety checks for potential drug interactions and allergies, ensuring patient safety. This seamless process improves patient convenience, as prescriptions are ready for pickup when patients arrive at the pharmacy.

12. Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding require accurate and complete clinical documentation that is keyed into the EMR. EMR software includes features that help with coding, denial management, and charge capture and this helps with the billing operations of hospitals and clinics.

A diagnosis code is essential to describe a patient’s condition or injury. But no provider can know every diagnosis code associated with every encounter on the spot. There are over 69,000 unique identifiers in the entire ICD-10-CM (clinical modifications) code set alone.

13. Privacy and Security

This is the most important of any EMR software. EHR/EMR software developers ensure that they follow HIPAA compliance rules and regulations while developing the software, to maintain the privacy and security of ePHI (Protected Health Information). Failure to protect ePHI can lead to adverse consequences such as legal charges and penalties that can go up to $50 million.

14. Medication Tracking

Medication tracking is one of the valuable EMR features as patients can use it to request medication refills. It streamlines the prescription renewal process. Providers can review these requests and approve or adjust prescriptions accordingly. Additionally, EMRs incorporate a safety check system that reviews a patient’s medication list for potential drug interactions and allergies. This helps prevent adverse reactions and ensures patient safety.

15. Documentation

Documentation is another capability of EMR as it replaces traditional paper-based record-keeping with digital data entry. Healthcare providers can enter patient information, notes, diagnoses, treatment plans, and other relevant data directly into the electronic system. This eliminates the need for handwritten notes and significantly reduces the risk of illegible or incomplete information.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) have revolutionized healthcare documentation, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and patient care. Their comprehensive capabilities empower healthcare providers to deliver higher-quality care, improve patient safety, and streamline administrative tasks.

If you’re looking for EMR software that will help streamline workflow and enhance patient care, then connect with Arkenea, a leading healthcare software development company in the USA.