Electronic health records (EHRs) are patient-centered, real-time records which make information accessible to approved and authorized users instantly and securely. Electronic health records are a critical part of health IT and can include the medical history of a patient, medications, prescriptions, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, laboratory and test results. It offers access to evidence-based resources that providers can use to make decisions about the treatment of a patient and optimizes and automates the workflow of providers. 

EHRs provide information whenever and wherever it is needed. The benefits of EHRs both for patients and doctors are enormous and beneficial:

  • Enhanced Patient Treatment.
  • Increase patient involvement.
  • Strengthened coordination of treatment and healthcare.
  • Better treatment and results of patients.
  • Cost savings and Efficiencies.

Electronic health records, operated with EMR software, have revolutionized how storage and processing of medical information is done. Yet where is the critical system’s future headed?

EHR all over the healthcare system

As of today many huge hospitals facilities and large multi-facility networks have adopted electronic health record systems with the help of government incentives. But the real revolution lies in adoption of Electronic health systems by primary healthcare providers and small hospitals and clinics. This is going to take a while since EHR systems are incredibly expensive – upto six or even seven figures. Another drawback is in the lack of knowledge and training of healthcare professionals in health IT. Most of the healthcare providers are still used to running down to a dank basement to find a stack of paper files when someone comes through the doors of a physician’s office. This makes utilizing EHR a challenge. So it is important to start installing systems if we want to reap benefits of EHR in the near future. For this EHR vendors would need to make their devices and systems more available for a broader variety of different range of healthcare practices. 

Integration among EHR systems

Another major issue with EMRs is their lack of integrated capability with other EHR systems. For example, when a patient is admitted to a hospital, the doctor needs information from outpatient services and from all other hospitals that patient has already visited to get a full picture of their health. This seems to be a top priority for EHR developers, but that’s not exactly the first priority. This is where interoperability is attracting a great deal of support from government, manufacturers and vendors. Hopefully the needle can shift, particularly where interoperability will help the physician collect data which is useful at the point of care. If EHR vendors pay attention, the interoperability and integration features for updates and improvements in 2020 should be at the top of their list.

Proper standardization

One way to achieve legal user friendliness in the near future is by standardizing. The new EHR regulatory standards are very weak — for example, according to Kimberly Reich, one company had to pay $155 million in penalties because it paid customers kickbacks to say that it met reasonable certification criteria for use. If vendors are to be kept accountable for providing the functionality that consumers really need and for upholding acceptable standards of usage, there must be more regulations.