Digitalisation in hospitals and across the entire healthcare sector is a significant and widely discussed topic within health policy. International comparison of digital health strategies performed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung showed that in Europe, Estonia, Spain and U.K. are digitally advanced countries in terms of policy activity, digital health readiness (e.g., electronic exchange of health data) and actual use (e.g., high level of electronic health record uptake).
The need for and usage of electronic patient records within hospitals has steadily increased over the last decade for economic reasons as well as the proceeding digitalisation.
What is an Electronic Patient Record?
An Electronic Patient Record is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative and clinical data relevant to that person’s care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunisations, laboratory data and radiology reports.
The EPR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician’s workflow. The EPR can also support other care-related activities directly or indirectly through various interfaces, including evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.
Compared to the traditional paper-based healthcare record, an EPR presents increased technical capability. Personal health information can be duplicated, shared, and queried with unprecedented speed and scale and therefore used in novel ways to benefit patient care, patient empowerment, efficiency of healthcare processes, and healthcare personnel work satisfaction.
Clinical information is rendered more accessible when and where needed allowing better integration of healthcare services as the same healthcare record can be available to authorised health care professionals at any location. Efficient interrogation of large volumes of individual or population data made possible with EPRs can support health service monitoring, evaluation, planning, public health and research. These increased technological capabilities affect a broad range of direct and in-direct stakeholders including patients, their families, and third parties such as researchers or policy makers.
Importance of Electronic Patient Records on healthcare organisations
Electronic Patient Records are a vital part of health IT and can:
- Contain a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunisation dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
- Allow access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care
- Automate and streamline provider workflows
Electronic Patient Records are the next step in the continuing progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians. The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, will enable providers to make better decisions and provide better care.
For example, the Electronic Patient Record can improve patient care by:
- Reducing the incidence of medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records.
- Making the health information available, reducing duplication of tests, reducing delays in treatment, and patients well informed to take better decisions.
- Reducing medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records.
Benefits of Electronic Patient Records
EPR provides the flexibility to choose the platform best suited to meet your organisation’s requirements. You can choose a SaaS model or on-premises model according to your needs and specifications. The EPR provides physicians with the flexibility to review tests, view reports, submit prescriptions all providing flexibility for physicians and increasing the speed of patient care. Doctors will have the flexibility to view records on smartphones, tablets or desktops from anywhere at any time through secure internet access.
- Reduce Paperwork
EPRs streamline workflows as the amount of paperwork and storage space decreases.
- Better Patient Outcomes
Smooth access to a patient’s entire records means no more filling out identical paperwork at each doctor’s or specialist’s clinic. Each provider can see which tests a patient has had, along with prescribed medications. Patients are less susceptive to the same testing or imaging methods because the results and pictures are all in one place. Better coordination between providers leads to an increase in correct diagnoses, increased control of chronic diseases and greater overall patient care, which should always be the primary centre of any healthcare plan. By promoting healthier lifestyles in the whole society, including improved physical exercise, a healthier diet, and wider use of preventative care.
- Patient Engagement
EPRs help in patient engagement through a patient portal. With the patient portal, patients can access their health records, track information and make appointment requests. Patients receive important alerts about appointments and tests which helps to reduce staff’s time. The portal also helps in sending and receiving critical alerts about the patient’s medical status. Communication between patients and physicians is improved.