Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records (EHRs) have taken over the healthcare industry by storm and transformed the approach to managing patient data. They have ushered in a new era of efficiency, accessibility, and patient-centered care for all. While the creation and implementation of EHRs started in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that their extensive use really began to surge, as an increasing number of people began to recognize the significant advantages they could provide. 

Although these systems offer many upsides, it’s essential to assess the advantages and disadvantages of electronic health records for both healthcare providers and patients. 

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Advantages of EHRs

Quality of Care: 

Advantages of an EHR system include improved efficiency of patient care. This is mainly due to the better analysis of patient health on a larger scale, such as by tracking data over time by utilizing customizable templates or providing easily trackable progress notes. Healthcare providers using intuitive EHR’s can make more informed decisions about treatment plans and interventions, leading to improved patient outcomes and personalized care.   

Accessibility of patient information allows relevant data to be available when a patient visits a different healthcare facility that has a HL7 connection set up. For example, if a provider commonly sends their patients to a nearby lab or pharmacy, the integration ensures that medical records are readily accessible, enabling efficient coordination across various points of care. This ease of convenience assists both the patient and the provider in a multitude of scenarios. Using an EHR that is interoperable with other systems is an important consideration to be made. 


Incentives from Meaningful Use: 

According to the National Library of Medicine, you can receive up to $44,000 for 5 years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and up to $63,750 for the 6 years you can participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. 

In order to qualify for Meaningful Use and gain access to the various government incentives, you must have a certified EHR that follows certain criteria. It is mandated to meet this criteria set forth by the regulatory bodies: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). These standards ensure the efficient and secure exchange of patient health information while enhancing the quality of care delivery and promoting interoperability within a healthcare environment. Making sure the EHR you’ve chosen is certified can provide your practice with a impactful financial bonus if you choose to participate in these programs. 


Enhanced Patient Engagement: 

EHR’s commonly integrate with patient portals and a corresponding mobile app version. Patient portals also commonly provide a secure messaging feature with their healthcare team. This ultimately improves communication among providers, patients, families, etc. by building a two-way flow of communication. 

The accessibility provided by patient portals empowers patients to take a proactive role in managing their health. Convenient access for patients helps them be more involved, by allowing them to review their medical records, request medication refills, test results, and treatment plans on their own time. A user-friendly patient portal facilitates informed decision-making and encourages adherence to treatment plans. 


No More Paper Records: 

A huge advantage of EHR’s is no longer needing to organize and store paper records. Digital records are easily searchable, sortable, and retrievable, allowing healthcare providers to quickly locate specific patient information as needed. EHR systems have search options and filters that make it easy for providers to find important information quickly. This assists with making decisions about patient care and coordinating with other healthcare professionals. 

Paper records are at a higher risk of becoming lost or damaged and have less security measures to protect sensitive information. Digital records stored within a secure EHR system is immune to physical damage. A reliable EHR offers a higher level of protection against security breaches by leveraging robust encryption algorithms and access controls. 


Disadvantages of EHRs

Cybersecurity Threats: 

EHR’s are a well-known, safe way to store patient data. They go through rigorous testing on a regular basis and commonly adhere to recognized security standards. Although they are considered secure and having strong security measures, there is still a risk for cyberthreat exposure. 


Potential for Information Gaps: 

If there is a delay between when the accountable healthcare professional acquires new information and when it is entered or updated, this could lead to other parties getting inaccurate or incomplete data. In a worst-case scenario, this could lead to a breakdown in communication among all healthcare providers engaged in a patient’s comprehensive care. Pharmacists, psychologists, specialists, and all other healthcare professionals depend on the accuracy of this information to make suitable treatment decisions. 


Learning Curve: 

As the healthcare technology industry surges forward with rapid advancements, navigating the landscape of new or upgraded EHR software can feel daunting, especially those from older generations. This ever-evolving state of technological innovations may seem overwhelming to many, even for those with plenty of experience in the healthcare industry. 

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Malpractice Liability Concerns: 

Introducing an EHR system presents various liability considerations and demands careful attention. Failure to execute the transition, whether it be between paper records to digital records, or from one EHR to another, could lead to errors in treatment. This could unfortunately put a provider squarely in the crosshairs of malpractice liability. 

Benchmark Solutions Prioritizes the Advantages and Minimizes Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records 

Although using electronic health records presents its hurdles, Benchmark EHR stands out as revolutionary software. It streamlines operations, paving the way for enhanced patient care all around. 

How Benchmark Solutions lessens the burden of any EHR disadvantages: 

  • Prioritizes the processes and seriousness of cybersecurity protection that demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding sensitive data 
  • Utilizes a EHR system that allows for real-time updates and ensures all relevant healthcare professionals have access to the most recent patient information 
  • Options for robust support can help alleviate the anxiety associated with the learning curve 
  • Provides invaluable guidance and support throughout the implementation process, minimizing the risk of data integrity issues and disruptions in patient care 
  • And more! 

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