There is a growing number of technological ways that consumers and health care providers communicate among one another. Electronic medical records are becoming widely used within health care organizations. Electronic medical records are an application used by health care practitioners to document, monitor, and manage health care delivery within a care delivery organization. (Clarke, Flaherty, Hollis, Tomallo, 2009). EMR’s are easily accessible, reduce storage space, efficient and environmentally friendly.
The major benefits of electronic medical records are that patient records are easily accessible and efficient. A patient medical record can be safely stored and their data can become quickly accessed without the risk of physical damage or misplacement. (Clarke, Flaherty, Hollis, Tomallo, 2009). Offices with multiple locations can easily be accessed without having to transport charts and fax records. An EMR system could be used for internal marketing, data entry, scheduling, and billing. It reduces the need to pull, file and maintain a paper record and office staff could use their free time doing other important tasks. (Irene, 2011). As a result, there are reduces costs in paper and time which are reduced and controlled with electronic means.
With the use of electronic medical records comes a risk of patient privacy and confidentiality. Every health care provider must understand the value and importance of patient privacy by protecting their information and following privacy rules. Maintaining patient confidentiality when using electronic medical records prevents embarrassment and their medical record to be exposed to others. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a privacy rule that was created to protect the patient’s protected health information from improper use. There are many potential risks of hackers and unauthorized access to patient information. A patient trusts that their information is kept safe and the health care provider should act with integrity to protect their information and keep their record confidential.
Electronic Medical Records allow a patient to become more involved with their health care. Many patients find it convenient to reorder prescriptions, view lab results and other information on their medical record. Electronic medical records has shows a reduction of repetitive tests, cross checking, and collaboration of collected data could help eliminate human errors associated with diagnosis and prescriptions. (Clarke, Flaherty, Hollis, Tomallo, 2009). All there information is located in one organized place. EMR’s help with the quick sharing of patient information between departments in health organizations.
Traditional ways of communication such as phone, paper and mail can become more time consuming and costly. The traditional methods of record keeping take up space and take up time in searching for all the information and could result in misreading and errors. Multiple offices with more than one location have to fax patient records or physically transport their charts. Many patients find it difficult to speak with a physician or office by phone or get an immediate response. There could be busy phone lines and time wasted in waiting for a return call back. Paper documents are harder to keep track of and can easily become misplaced or fall into the wrong hands. Media and social media have made a positive change in the way health care providers and consumers communicate in health care. Information and feedback is shared quickly compared to traditional methods. Social media is all about relationships and communication where it is the basis for communicating through sharing and interaction. (McCarthy, 2013).