Electronic medical records (EMR) are being established throughout many healthcare systems across the world as a valuable tool in the patient care process. EMR offers immediate access to a massive amount of data, and serves as a simple way to significantly accelerate the collection and storage of patient information. However, evidence suggests that the EMR systems currently in place, and subsequently those that would be implemented based on current designs, have yet to be utilized in an optimal manner. Several approaches have been offered to maximize the multifaceted potential of EMR implementation in the healthcare process.
The primary issue that is restraining the EMR system from achieving its full potential is the failure of healthcare providers to utilize it for purposes other than delivering direct care to the patient (Tolar & Balka, 2011). There are no inherent limitations to EMR preventing its integration into healthcare processes that don’t involve patient participation. Some targeted examples include the management of chronic diseases, implementing prevention plans, and coordinating with other providers. Promotion of the EMR system as a tool for indirect healthcare should be a priority in order to begin the process of taking full advantage of the available benefits.
Focusing on diversifying the usage of EMR is not the only step that can be taken to maximize its contribution to patient care (Terry et al., 2012). Professionals must be comfortable using the system for the intended purposes, calling for the promoted availability of concise training materials and other aids throughout the implementation process. Consideration should also be given to optimizing the process at a departmental level, so that attention can be paid to the specific needs of various healthcare professionals and organizations. Enacting these and other measures will help to ensure that every potential advantage of EMR is realized.
Terry, A. L., Cejic, S., Ryan, B. L., Shadd, J. D., Stewart, M., Fortin, M., & Thind, A. (2012). You and your EMR: the research perspective Part 4. Optimizing EMRs in primary health care practice and research. Canadian Family Physician, 58(6), 705-706.
Tolar, M., & Balka, E. (2011). Beyond individual patient care: Enhanced use of EMR data in a primary care setting. International Perspectives in Health Informatics, 164, 143.