What are Electronic Medical Records?

Historically, medical “charts” have been taken by physicians so that they can be used for reference in diagnosis and planning patient care. When a series of these charts are compiled they make up the medical record for the patient.

A reliable medical record can allow health care service providers to; supply improved health care services to a patient, better planning of preventative actions, record communications with the patient, archive lab reports from specialists and other health service providers. Culminating in a complete medical history for a patient and repository of valuable information that can dramatically affect the well being of an individual.

However, as health care services become more complex, individuals more mobile , paper records more cumbersome and technology more advanced and secure. There has been a shift to recording patient records electronically.

An electronic medical records (EMR) system is simply a solution that allows medical visits, reports and data to be stored electronically. This is usually done; locally on a desktop computer, company wide on an in house server or more recently there has been a move to providing software as a service solutions. All three of these solutions have challenges related to access rights, data storage and security.

Medical data should be considered as one of the most highly secured sets of data that can be held on a patient. The effects of leaking this data can have  consequences with respect to a companies liability for data management. This is why it is critical that an EMR solution has the appropriate measures in place to ensure security of the data and impose tight restrictions on who can access any medical records.

What Can An EMR System Be Used For?

There are a multitude of EMR systems available in the marketplace to serve a number of different needs. Ranging from an individual consultant health worker serving a small client base all the way up to a solution for global businesses with internal health services working across borders.

Each solution must fit the needs of the user(s) and work to efficiently serve the patients. Ensuring that the health worker can focus on the patient and not on the system.

Good systems should have no trouble recording/doing the following:

  • Standard patient information
  • Standard patient visits
  • Immunization history
  • Archiving specialist reports
  • Integration of 3rd party equipment eg. Spirometers & Audiometers
  • Allergies
  • Booking visits in advance
  • Booking periodical checkups

This list is by no means exhaustive, but serves a a starting point when investigating EMR solutions for your organization.