What is an EHR system? Definitions, benefits, problems and trends for electronic health records

Bureaucratic burden is the top cause of US physician burnout across generatins

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Maintaining a patient’s medical history on paper can be tedious and labor intensive for healthcare professionals, and with today’s consumers wanting quick access to their health data and information without having to physically go to their physicians office, digital solutions are a necessity.

Physician burnout costs the US $5 billion each year and triples the likelihood of expensive medical errors –– that’s why electronic health records (EHRs) have become a staple in the rapidly transforming space.

What is an Electronic Health Record?

An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic collection of a patient’s medical history –– including diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, allergies, laboratory and test results. And EHRs work beyond just recording a patient’s health data.

EHRs allow patients’ health information to be managed in a digital format and their data can be shared with other providers across multiple organizations. They grant access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make sound decisions and recommendations about a patient’s care.


While some people may use the terms Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) interchangeably, they have stark differences that are important to note.

EMRs are sometimes referred to as the first iteration of EHRs –– they are quite literally the digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EMRs focus on a patient’s various diagnoses and treatments and can be used to help track data over time.

EHRs can do everything EMRs can do, and more. Designed to go beyond the information stored and entered by the original health organization, they cover a much wider scope of documentation and analysis of a patient’s health and medical history. They can even assist with healthcare management functions, such as billing and scheduling.

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Benefits of EHR Systems

EHR systems can improve two major areas in the healthcare industry: physician productivity and patient satisfaction.

Physician productivity

EHR implementation has the ability to speed up physician diagnoses and digitize administrative tasks, which are associated with 30% of healthcare costs. Other ways EHRs can enhance physician productivity include:

Fewer file pulls
Reduced transcription costs
24/7 access to patient information
Improved billing and scheduling
Patient Satisfaction

Today’s patients want to have a firmer grasp on monitoring and controlling their own health data and medical records. EHRs give them the ability to quickly obtain their data and see which areas of their health history require improvement. Additionally, EHRs provide patients with:

24/7 access to their records
Easier chronic disease management
Reduced turn-around time for messages to a physician
Improved delivery of education materials
EHR Implementation Strategies & Challenges

While EHRs have the potential to decrease cost, increase productivity, and enhance patient satisfaction, EHR implementation is a long and complicated process. Some of the major hurdles EHRs face include interoperability and data privacy.

Interoperability –– the ability of different software systems to share and exchange data –– …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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