The Impact of Electronic Medical Records on the Health Care System: A Review of the Literature
Melnick, Natalie E.
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Electronic medical records (EMRs) are valuable and rapidly-developing tools that impact the health care system for both the health care provider and the patient. There are a variety of medical record functions that EMRs are capable of, including electronic prescribing, alerts for drug interactions or other medical errors, online communication, and imaging review. Patients feel empowered with direct access to their medical records at any time, as well as simple options for online communication with their health care provider. At the same time, many patients have concerns about the safety and confidentiality of medical information online. Providers are able to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes or obesity in a more organized manner using an EMR system by utilizing functions that track longitudinal patient data, as well as alert systems for regular testing or discussions with patients about their chronic conditions. Initially, EMRs may increase the workload for medical providers and reduce efficiency in the medical setting while providers learn to navigate a new electronic system. Patients and providers may also feel that there is a less personal connection during the medical exam when the provider is looking at a computer to enter medical information instead of having a direct conversation with the patient. While there are negative and positive impacts that come with using an EMR system, more research needs to be done on the most effective way to educate patients on navigating their medical record online, and the long-term effects, including financial and efficiency, that EMRs have in hospitals and private practices.