EHR Software is software used by health facilities to read, update, store, and share electronic health records (EHRs). An EHR is similar to an electronic medical record (EMR) in that it replaces a paper-based medical record with an electronic file. However, an EHR is not limited to a single medical facility but can follow patients as they visit and get treated at different facilities. EHR Software enables multiple clinics, hospitals, and laboratories to update a patient's EHR with their latest symptoms, medication, treatment, lab tests, and other health-related information.
Although medical facilities use electronic health systems from different vendors, EHR Software contains interoperability features to ensure that patient health records are readable and editable by any system. This is accomplished through the standardization of data structure and exchange. However, the terms and language used by medical practitioners to describe the health condition of a patient are still subject to individual preference and interpretation.
EHR software benefits
EHR Software provides additional benefits on top of the digitization of health records and their portability to any medical facility.
EHR software improves the workflow of healthcare providers
Automation features let providers schedule patient visits, create new charts quickly, prioritize tasks, and communicate with patients and staff using the program's interactive and user-friendly interface
Many solutions now allow healthcare providers to send prescriptions or lab orders electronically from their desktop or mobile devices
Patients are able to receive prescriptions and orders at the right time and avoid emergency situations
Some EHR solutions also manage billing information
EHRs reduce medical errors due to poor legibility in paper-based records, so users of EHR software are more confident they are working on accurate records and reliable information
EHR security concerns
However, as an electronic system with access to a database of private and sensitive personal information, EHR systems can be subject to a data breach. This is a legitimate concern of many healthcare providers. In compliance with HIPAA and other privacy laws, most EHR software solutions have built-in security features to protect privacy and prevent unauthorized access. These features include national testing and standard certifications, system and user log files, and access permission or password protection. Many EHR software providers also implement data encryption.
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