What is an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?
An electronic medical record (EMR) is a computer-based patient medical record system used to manage patient information and care within the scope of the clinic’s practice. Features include billing, scheduling and clinical information. Typically, clinical information includes encounter notes, health conditions, allergies, family history, prescriptions and medications, diagnostic test results, referral letters and consult letters.
Why an EMR?
EMRs eliminate the need for a paper-based system to track, organize and manage patient information, providing tangible benefits to clinicians, clinic staff and patients. Here are some examples of benefits:
- Efficiency and sustainability
- reducing time spent searching for records or waiting for records already in use
- providing the ability to renew prescriptions with just a few clicks
- reducing lost billing opportunities
- enabling cost reductions related to storage space for paper-based charts
- operating a practice using technology enables easier recruitment of new clinicians
- Quality of care and safety
- reducing risk associated with clinical errors through use of EMR features such as drug interaction checking and alerts
- ensuring essential information (e.g. chronic conditions) is highlighted through use of automated reminders or flags
- avoiding decision delays due to inability to find or access information, thereby reducing risks to the patient
- providing easier observation of trends and patterns in the health of a patient or group
- Access and client service
- improving access to clinical information through improved organization and structure of patient medical records
- improving the legibility of notes by eliminating the need for handwritten chart entries
- improving protection of patients' personal health information via clearly defined permissions to access patient data in the EMR
- improving the sharing of health information among primary-care providers
- improving the flow of information to specialists by easily enabling generation of comprehensive referral letters with EMR information
EMR-experienced Peer Supporters from the Manitoba Peer-to-Peer Network at Digital Health have shared their EMR experiences, including their favourite EMR Tips and Tricks, the benefits they realized from implementation and the lessons they learned along the way. Click here to read their stories.