While electronic medical records (EMR) have been around since the 80′s, the right set of circumstances haven’t existed for this technology to take off until now. Here are the primary drivers causing rapid adoption of EMR.
While there have been software solutions for decades that promised to help make managing a medical practice easier and patent’s information more secure. The packages that were provide were often bloated, expensive, and not user friendly. As a result medical practices didn’t migrate to EMR because it simply didn’t help their business. That has changed and now there packages that create outstanding return on investment in a short period time. The top EMR packages manage all aspects of a medical practice from security, compliance to calling patients to remind them of appointments. Electronic medical records is an eight billion dollar market and companies are racing like mad to secure the top spot. The top emr companies are; Allscripts, Centricity, Epic, Misys, Eclinicalworks.
The industry is consolidating rapidly in an all out sprint to establish market share and become the leader. All this bodes well for the medical practice shopping for their first emr software suite.
The second driver is the United States Federal Government. President Obama allocated a significant chunk of the American Reinvestment Act towards electronic medical records. The Veteran’s Administration already EMR in use. If a patient visits any VA hospital into VistA. This software allows and physician or authorized medical staff member to pull up the entire medical history of a patient.
EMR Vendors that Know Data Protection & Security
The third driver in the adoption of electronic medical records is storage and redundancy.
The digital nature of EMR make them ideal to store. Not only can the patient and practice records be stored easily and cheaply but redundancy is afforded through technology that allows the records to mirrored in at more than one location. In the event of a fire, data-breach or natural disaster, a full, real-time back-up is available at alternate locations.
Complete Patient History
The fourth driver in the adoption of electronic medical records is patient history. Each time a patient visits a doctor he or she has to start fresh and explain and detail their full history. This would be fine if it actually happens but rarely do patients provide the full level of detail that doctor needs to understand their health up to the moment. A perfect example is a tetanus shot. Most people don’t remember the last time they had this shot if their doctor had this information and you were able to allow your information to be shared your other doctors and specialists could have that information too. Not only do electronic medical records help improve patient care, they also help reduce the cost of liability insurance.
Space and Real Estate – EMR Vendors
EMR are more efficient than traditional paper records on so many levels but the most often cited benefit is reduced labor expense and reduced storage expense. No longer does a medical practice need one or more rooms with towering file storage cabinets. Also many physician’s are finding they don’t need as many administrative assistants to run their practice. Reducing their headcount by one person can easily pay for an EMR package in one year.
The Network Effect
As more and more electronic medical record companies find way to interface with each other it produces an efficiency network effect that is not limited to just medical practices. For instance doctor’s offices can link with pharmacies and instantly pass a prescription to a patients preferred pharmacy. This saves time but more importantly dramatically cuts down on medication typos. Typos and pharmacists misunderstanding a doctor’s handwritten orders have a huge adverse impact on patients as well as cost when a patient becomes ill as a result of an improper medication being provided. Insurance companies are also coming on board and integrating with EMR platforms so claims and prescriptions can be handled more easily and effectively.