The most productive benefits of utilizing an electronic medical records (EMR) system are practice efficiency, cost reduction and quality of care delivery. While these benefits might persuade physicians to adapt EMRs, the true potential of an EMR lies in information management.
By centralizing the patient demographics, complaints, diagnosis and medical history, an EMR effectively creates a data bank which can be accessed to aid medical research, manage health risks, and improve patient care.
In 2009 researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston conducted a study by mining more than 500,000 de-identified health records from Massachusetts in order to capture and analyze any specific pattern that would enable them to determine future diagnoses of domestic abuse. Later that year, the researchers published their results citing 88% accuracy of the diagnoses derived from their data mining reports.
Most advanced EMRs allow for sophisticated reporting using complex queries and data collaboration. Physicians can utilize the information collected to better deliver personalized care, accommodate exceptions and improve practice outlook.
EMRs offer a more cost effective way of conducting research on a larger scale instead of using conventional methods. Last year, a group of researchers identified a potentially harmful drug to drug interaction that could adversely affect glucose levels and put patients at risk of developing diabetes. The researchers then validated the information utilizing electronic records of patients from three different medical institutions. “EMRs were really critical in our study because they allowed us to validate our FDA-derived predictions at minimal cost,” quoted the corresponding author and professor, Dr. Ross Altman.
This is one of the foremost reasons the federal government backs EHR adoption. EHR not only ensures consistent, quality information capture but allows users to further utilize the information collected by identifying data patterns and exceptions through its data mining capabilities. It not only helps physicians by aiding medical learning but also the patients, as they are the key beneficiaries for any breakthrough in the medical science and technology.