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May 11, 2023

Electronic Health Records: Pros and Cons for Healthcare Providers

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Dr. Shefiu Lanre Shittu

President of Daily Care Solutions

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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 was signed into law and required healthcare providers to invest heavily in computerization, especially in electronic health records (EHR). But while EHR has improved efficiency and patient privacy, it has created some new problems too. 

We’ll discuss the pros and cons of EHR for healthcare providers and what they can do to improve their systems. Optimizing your EHR system will create a more efficient system for your patients and improve their overall patient care. 

Pros of Electronic Health Records for Healthcare Providers

These are the main benefits of utilizing EHR in your healthcare facility:

Improved Patient Care

EHRs keep an accurate and comprehensive patient health record, including medical conditions, allergies, treatments, and medications. With access to a patient’s full history, healthcare providers can make the best, most informed decisions about a patient’s care and create the best treatment plans. EHRs also improve care coordination and patient outcomes by facilitating better data analysis.

Increased Efficiency

With EHRs, healthcare providers have instant access to patient records, test results, and other important information, streamlining administrative tasks and reducing the time spent on paperwork. EHRs can also keep the records centralized, improving patient safety and reducing the risk of medical errors.

Cost Savings

EHRs significantly reduce costs for healthcare providers because it:

  • Eliminates many of the costs associated with paper-based record-keeping. 
  • Reduces medical errors that can incur costs.
  • Improves billing and coding accuracy, leading to fewer claim denials and quicker reimbursements. 

Improved Communication and Collaboration

EHRs allow healthcare professionals to share patient information securely and quickly. This creates easier access to patients’ medical history, lab results, and treatment plans, regardless of location or facility. 

EHRs offer communication through secure messaging and alerts, which can improve care coordination and reduce medical errors. EHRs also improve collaboration between primary care providers and specialists, improving your patient’s overall care.

Enhanced Patient Engagement

EHRs can improve patient engagement by giving patients access to their health information, enabling them to be more involved in managing their health. Studies found that patient portals significantly improve patient engagement by allowing them to access their records through an app portal. 

Better Data Analytics

EHRs provide healthcare providers with valuable data insights that can be used to identify trends and patterns in patient health, helping to inform decision-making and improve population health management. There are many EHR software solutions that automatically generate these reports, enabling you to implement operational changes to improve patient outcomes.

Regulatory Compliance

EHRs help healthcare providers to meet regulatory requirements and maintain compliance with healthcare laws and regulations. HealthIT.gov is a great resource for ensuring your organization’s EHRs are compliant.

Increased Accessibility

EHRs allow healthcare professionals to access their patient records from anywhere, making it easier to provide care to patients in remote or underserved areas. Your healthcare professionals can now access patient information from any device as long as it has a secure internet connection, making care more accurate and personalized.

Would you like more flexibility and better pay as a locum tenens specialist or consultant? Join Daily Care Solutions’s specialist network that connects you to high-paying locum tenens opportunities.

Related Link: Daily Care Solutions Metrics

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Cons of Electronic Health Records for Healthcare Providers

While EHRs show significant promise, we still have a long way to go. Many health organizations complain about the following disadvantages of EHRs: 

Initial Costs

Implementing EHRs can be expensive for healthcare providers, requiring hardware, software, and staff training investments. This is no insignificant cost; it can take up to ten months to recoup your costs of implementing an EHR system.

Technical Issues

Technical problems, such as system crashes or slow performance, can cause delays or disruptions in patient care. A poll found that many EHR systems were clunky, hard to navigate, and not well-designed, slowing down operations and impacting patient experience. 

Privacy and Security Concerns

EHRs contain sensitive patient information, making them vulnerable to cyber threats, data breaches, and privacy violations. 20% of privacy breaches involved compromised credentials, and security attacks are only increasing. 

Interoperability Challenges

EHR systems may not be compatible, making it difficult for healthcare providers to share patient information and collaborate effectively. There isn’t a standard for sharing data, so each organization can have different clinical terminologies, specifications, and capabilities. 

User Error

User errors can compromise the accuracy and completeness of patient information in EHRs. A study found that one in five patients had errors in the EHRs. 

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare providers must comply with various legal and regulatory requirements related to EHR use, such as HIPAA, which can be complex and time-consuming. And these regulations are constantly evolving and changing, making it hard for organizations to remain compliant.

Staff Training, Adoption, and Burnout

Healthcare providers may require significant training and support to effectively use EHR systems, and some of your staff may be resistant to change or adoption of an unfamiliar program. EHRs can also contribute to staff burnout by increasing administrative burdens and reducing the time spent on direct patient care.

Interested in becoming a locum tenens specialist? Contact us to learn how to get started. 

Related Link: Learn More About Daily Care Solutions

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5 Tips for How to Improve EHR for Healthcare Providers

Simplify User Interfaces: EHRs can be complex and difficult to navigate, leading to user errors and inefficiencies. Simplifying the user interface and reducing unnecessary clicks can help healthcare providers save time and increase accuracy.

Streamline Workflows: Identifying and eliminating unnecessary steps in EHR workflows can help to reduce administrative burdens and increase efficiency. Workflow optimization can also help to improve communication and collaboration between healthcare providers.

Integrate Interoperability: Ensuring that EHRs are interoperable with other systems can help healthcare providers easily access patient information from multiple sources, reducing the risk of data errors and improving care coordination.

Provide Adequate Training: Taking the time to provide adequate training and support on how to use EHRs can improve adoption rates and reduce user errors. Training should be ongoing to keep your staff up-to-date with any changes in the system.

Focus on Security and Privacy: Ensuring that EHR systems are secure and compliant with regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA, is essential to protect patient information. Healthcare providers should also be trained on how to maintain privacy and security when using EHRs.

Daily Care Solutions is a locums group that connects high-quality physicians and specialists with high-paying hospital partners. If you want the flexibility and pay of locum tenens, learn more about our services. 

Related Link: Daily Care Solution Services

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Dr. Shefiu Lanre Shittu

President of Daily Care Solutions

Internal Medicine physician with over 10 years of experience in medical staffing solution. Completed medical education and residency in Columbia University. Provided expert oversight to private groups and hospitals. Contracted services organization and Take charge of establishing three hospitalist programs from inception to completion. Develop the scope of practice and negotiate contracts with other departments and specialties. Perform a wide range of tasks including contract negotiations, revenue cycle and human resource management, process improvement, and introduction of interdisciplinary rounding. Drove key efforts toward the reduction of cost of running programs by approximately 15-20%. Identified staffing needs while creating unique staffing plans for programs.

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