What is EHR: 7 Key EHR Functions & Its Benefits
With the world moving rapidly towards online healthcare solutions, you’ve likely used a telehealth app for everything from an initial appointment to a follow-up or other healthcare issue.
With this said, have you noticed a shift in how you manage your health records while using these mobile health and wellness apps, or while using a patient portal?
Keeping track of your health and medical records is much easier than it once was.
The shift toward remote healthcare has encouraged the digitization of documents in the form of Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
Let’s find out what is EHR below.
What is an EHR?
There can be some confusion when understanding “What is an EHR?” The rapid move toward electronic health record systems (or EHR systems) from hardcopy filing has caused some confusion as society plays catch up with technological advances.
In short, the purpose of EHRs is to consolidate a person’s medical chart and other healthcare data into digital documents for convenience, accessibility, and transparency.
Technically, EHRs can only be accessed by authorized users, such as your doctor or pharmacist.
What is an EHR, and what can it offer you?
EHR systems are created to offer you the most convenience possible, and consolidate a large amount of your healthcare data in the form of electronic health records.
Let’s have a look at major EHR functions below.
Electronic health records are beneficial for several reasons because they:
- Provide fast access to health records.
- Centralize records in one place.
- May offer potential treatment recommendations.
- Give you access to your medical details (offering transparency).
- Improves patient and physician communication because each party has more clarity on current and past medical information, medications, and treatment.
- Can improve preventative care because you can see and keep track of symptoms and any irregular changes.
- Update in real-time so that health practitioners can create faster, more effective treatment plans.
- Can be conveniently shared between healthcare professionals to better coordinate your journey towards wellness.
- Offer security through encryption and privacy regulations, such as HIPAA.
- Reduce the chances of human error, which can take place with paper medical files.
EHRs typically contain the following information:
- Allergies to foods or medications
- Background and family history
- Personal information (like address, phone number, DOB, and emergency contacts)
- Documentation about any surgeries or procedures performed
- Hospitalization records
- Information about past visits to healthcare providers
- Insurance information (if applicable)
- Immunization records
- Information about any past or current conditions
- Lab results
- Radiology images
What’s the difference between EHRs and EMRS?
Firstly, the term electronic health record has a shortened form, which is the EHR medical abbreviation.
The EHR medical abbreviation can be seen often and synonymously when discussing your electronic health record. Doctor offices, labs, and pharmacies will recognize the shortened version, and they should be able to give you the details you need on how to access them if they have a patient portal. Otherwise, your digital documents can be released to and stored in a healthcare app, such as Ravkoo Health.
Technically, the EHR medical abbreviation isn’t the same as the abbreviation for an electronic medical record (EMR).
Furthermore, an electronic health record is a digital log of much of your health and medical data. An electronic medical record is simply a digital version of a medical chart.
Now that we have a strong understanding of electronic health records from a patient’s perspective let’s look at the management aspect.
What is EHR software?
Maintaining an efficient medical practice is far from a small task. With such a large (and growing) amount of data to keep track of, it can be challenging to keep patients and various healthcare providers on the same page. Hence, the ever-increasing movement towards EHR software as a large-scale management system.
EHR software is a computer system that assists your healthcare providers in managing patient records while also automating the clinical workflow.
Furthermore, EHR systems allow providers to create customizable note templates during patient visits, allowing for clearer transcription of what took place during an appointment.
What are the benefits of using EHR systems?
Adopting electronic health record systems has soared over the past ten years. According to HealthIT.gov, around 86% of physician’s offices and 96% of hospitals have now adopted EHR systems.
We saw a larger movement toward using EHR software with the increased demand for virtual healthcare solutions during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and it’s believed that the need for EHR software will only continue to increase.
Here are two of the key benefits of utilizing an EHR system:
- Minimize errors.
To reduce mistakes and boost efficiency, many healthcare and medical providers have begun using electronic health record systems (or EHR systems) to manage data rather than manual filing (which leaves room for misfiling or exposed documents).
- Consolidate healthcare information.
An EHR system removes the frustration of a person’s healthcare information being scattered in different locations. Instead, EHR software offers a platform to consolidate a person’s health data in one location, making it straightforward to access and share quickly.
What are the key functions of an EHR system?
The main functions of an electronic health record system include:
- Admin processing and reporting:
Administrative operations are critical but can be time-consuming for the staff, and it also takes away from attention that could otherwise be given to patients.
In answer to this time constraint, the core function of an electronic health system is to simplify and automate a number of the responsibilities, so that patient care is prioritized. Some processes that can function automatically are:
- Appointment scheduling.
- Patient outreach or follow-up.
Also, storing all organizational data in a single electronic system enhances accuracy because it helps to ensure nothing is forgotten.
- Decision support:
In healthcare, providing decision support is critical to improving patient care and accuracy when a practitioner makes a decision.
Electronic health software often has tools that can support healthcare providers in creating effective patient treatment plans. Having this system in place aids your healthcare providers in maintaining best clinical practices by keeping them on track to follow existing treatment procedures.
- Electronic communication:
Clear, concise, and accurate communication between patients and their healthcare providers is vital.
An electronic health record system often facilitates a better flow of communication by providing secure messaging systems. When utilized, messaging systems allow patients to ask important questions as they arise through the platform. Convenient communication promotes patient engagement at every step of their wellness journey.
- Health data and information:
Your healthcare information has essential data that benefits the population’s health.
Therefore, a well-managed electronic health record system should allow clinics to share helpful clinical information with public organizations like the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
This securely shared information assists the government in understanding and tracking the status of societal health to minimize the spread of diseases or viruses.
- Order management:
Tracking prescription orders and lab tests can be complicated, especially with chronic conditions when refills are regularly needed.
But a quality electronic health record system should track and record orders for a more streamlined process. Order management includes a few different bonuses, such as:
- Faster order fulfillment.
- Reduced chances of order duplication.
- Better readability or legibility of prescriptions and lab requisition forms.
Having all orders entered into a single database decreases the chances of mistakes, offering a safer experience for the patient, and clearer accountability for a practice.
- Patient support:
Electronic health software empowers patients with a full range of support tools they need to stay actively engaged in their treatment. With a digital health record system in place, a person usually receives access to:
- Health records.
- Medical charts.
- Educational resources.
Also, many healthcare practices offer a patient portal where patients can sign in and access much of their healthcare information. All of the data is conveniently available 24/7 and keeps the patient more engaged in their health.
Furthermore, patients are now empowered by healthcare apps that utilize electronic health record systems. For instance, we created Ravkoo Health to bring a centralized health record platform to patients when and where they need it via mobile device.
If you’ve found it difficult to keep track of all of your medical data, try a mobile healthcare app.
To promote convenient healthcare solutions, we created the mobile application Ravkoo Health. It offers you consistent access to your digitized health records (among many other healthcare-related services). On this app, your records are:
- Secured by HIPAA.
- Located in your healthcare summary for easy accessibility.
- Available to retrieve at any time.
How does it work? You start by consulting with one of our certified Ravkoo Health doctors, and they will request that your medical information is released. After, you can view, store, share, and retrieve your online health records at any time from your smartphone.
- Result management:
To care for a patient, a healthcare provider must have the most up-to-date patient info (such as lab results and medications). An electronic health record solution allows a clinician or doctor to quickly access new results, even if a different team member takes over the treatment plan.
Healthcare teams can review a patient’s medical history and previous treatment plans to ensure nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
The world is moving towards online healthcare solutions, and you deserve to be at the forefront. Using an electronic healthcare system empowers you to stay current on your health and wellness.