The benefits of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) appear to be obvious to doctors and patients alike. Research on the impact of electronic medical records on patient doctor communication during consultation concluded that the use of EMR exerts both positive and negative impacts on physician-patient relationships.

The prospect of enhanced medical records legibility, easy accessibility and reduction in the medical error are features to be grateful for. Paper records are difficult to be maintained, and time consuming and this problem is reduced drastically by using EMR.  During implementation there can be no reduction in patient volume and care. It is essential to develop an EMR system which is flexible and easy to use by physicians so that the adverse effects on their relationship with their patients are reduced.

Also, medical education interventions will help to improvise the scenario. Integrating the use of the EMR in everyday practice of clinical encounter, as well as better design of EMR systems and EMR communication training may facilitate its use and reduce the side effects.

The benefits of EMR to clinicians and how it helps them improve their relationship with their patients are as below:

From the patient’s point of view

  • It serves as a bridge between the patient and the doctor  which enhances patient care within a medical setup.
  • Improved diagnosis and medications. Lesser diagnostic and therapeutic errors.
  • For patients with multiple co-morbidities, data can be simplified, and reminders can be given to the patient and doctor about blood tests and screening.
  • Up-to-date medical records.
  • Maintenance of personal health record with minimal errors.
  • Professionals can reach to a decision faster due to rapid access to entire medical history on a device like handheld mobile phones even.
  • Different specialists can all connect and share reports and findings, so that the patient will save travel time and money
  • Increased patient interaction as lesser time is spent entering and retrieving medical data.

All of this translates into higher patient satisfaction, and more publicity for the setup.

Advantage for doctors

  • Patient data can be quickly transferred from one department to another , this is of great importance in busy health care institutions.
  • EMR will save a lot of space, money and manpower , required to maintain files and paper records , which increases each day with practice.
  • Enhanced patient workflow and increased productivity.
  • Less medical malpractice, lesser clinical errors, lesser chances of malpractice suits and improvised result management and patient care.
  • Operational cost like transcription services and overtime labour charges will be saved.
  • Advanced e-Prescribing techniques and clinical documentation facilities are available with EMR softwares.
  • Accurate and efficiently processed billing service.
  • Improved diagnosis and patient outcome.
  • With use of EMR, information is available whenever and wherever.
  • Reminders about different patients follow ups, blood tests, etc.
  • Patients of chronic diseases with long lists of medicines have always been stressful for physicians. With EMR a physician can compare the drugs, know their side effects and drug interactions within seconds.

Health care management is an integral part of the society, and we cannot work without it for long. EMR is the perfect solution. The endless flow of information and never ending data access, faster connectivity within a digital health care infrastructure, will transform the world of medicine , and the way care is delivered.

Contributed by Dr. Rachita Narsaria, MD`