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Electronic Health Record Versus Paper Medical Record


The health care industry has been slow to fully integrate to a digital medical record system. With new technologies being developed constantly, the health care industry is finally beginning to come on board with the rest of the world.

Many providers have been hesitant to take on the task of converting from the paper-based medical record system to the electronic health record. Making the change can be time-consuming and costly. Also, physicians and staff may have a difficult time transitioning to a new way of collecting and handling patient information. However, the benefits of highly outweigh the challenges.

Reduced Storage

In comparison to digital records, paper records require a substantial amount of space.  Not only do providers have to keep information on file for the treatment of their patients but must keep those files on hand due to health care regulations for at least 6 years.

Ease of Access

With a digital record, access is virtually unlimited.  Physicians can have access to test results almost immediately.  Multiple departments can add clinical information to the health record without having to locate or checkout a paper medical record chart.  

Improved Accuracy

Medical errors in a paper-based medical record system can sometimes be related to incomplete documentation and illegible handwriting.  Electronic systems come with features that make sure all information necessary for patient care is included on the form.  Some EMR software packages have edits in place that require the user to add additional information as needed.

Reduced Costs

Although, providers may have the initial costs of implementing an electronic medical record system, the overall costs are less than those associated with the paper record. Paper medical records have higher costs due to the necessity of more personnel to manage, access, file, and maintain paper charts.

Increased Risk Management

With all patient information in digital form,  providers are able to track clinical issues more effectively allowing them to easily identify areas of risk.  Processes can quickly and accurately be put in place in order to improve patient care.

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