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EMRs improve patient care and efficiency

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are changing the way healthcare facilities treat patients. They allow universal viewers to easily access patient data and clinical images in a timely fashion, while reducing the chance of errors and cutting costs. So far, approximately 5,800 hospitals in the U.S. have implemented EMRs, and some use cloud computing software to complement it, which has been found to slash expenses even further and increase the efficiency of care delivery. However, research from Frost and Sullivan reveals that EMRs have recently shifted from being an "enterprise-centric solution" to a "client-specific application."

"EMRs are poised to improve patient care, reduce healthcare expenses and fundamentally change the way in which medicine is practiced," said Darshana De, a senior research analyst at Technical Insights. 

De also added that government incentives, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are expected to increase the effectiveness of implementing health information technology to improve medical services throughout the country.

Medical facilities should be willing to spend resources on adopting EMRs

Besides the U.S., many countries around the world are expected to ramp up the implementation of EMRs in the near future, and the pace will depend on the support they receive from their governments. A major drawback to EMRs is the initial cost of setting them up, which may deter potential users.

"A major task for healthcare practices that still have not begun the implementation process is to find suitable vendors who can help streamline the entire process," said Arjunvasan Ambigapathy, another research analyst at Technical Insights.

Most health facilities underestimate the time and costs associated with implementing EMRs, according to InformationWeek. Once the system is installed, nursing and physician documentation needs to be manually put in, and functions such as clinical order entry, clinical decision support and barcodes for medications need to be set up. Chief information officers, who were interviewed about the process of introducing EMRs into their practice, revealed that implementing EMRs caused operating costs to go up and required more time to manage.

However, despite the initial financial setback and time needed to adjust to the new system, the technology can ultimately help to streamline healthcare delivery through efficient file sharing in the long run.

News brought to you by TeraMedica, Inc., leaders in healthcare enterprise imaging (VNA) solutions.