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Electronic Medical Records and Patient Safety

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: Anurag Ghosh • updated: 1/13/2011

With the increasing use of electronic medical records, there are many advantages to their use in patient care. When looking at electronic medical records and patient safety, using this technology can reduce the amount of medication errors and better organize patient information.

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    Electronic Medical Records: Introduction

    Other than the current debt, all of the world’s major countries have one thing in common at the moment – management of medical records for the general public. Most developed countries such as Canada and Britain are also looking for ways to either implement or improve the way in which a patient’s medical history can be compiled onto an electronic medical record. Of course, with any new technology that stores personal information, there is a debate on use of electronic medical records and patient safety.

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    Why Use Electronic Medical Records?

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    Better Care of Patients

    One of the best uses of electronic medical records or a patient’s record in an electronic format is the ability to provide better care for patients. When records are in an electronic format, they can be easily accessed by medical professionals such as physicians and nurses. This makes it easier to administer treatment if the results of previous medical tests are available.

    The use of electronic medical records and patient safety is vital. There is a decreased risk of medical errors such as wrong medication being given because all of the patient’s information is available. Therefore, drug reaction errors can be decreased with usage of electronic records.

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    Improved Doctor-Patient Relationships

    An electronic medical record can also be used to improve doctor and patient relationship. This is because the physician is now able to spend more time explaining the diagnosis and treatment to the patient based on the electronic database. Without an electronic medical file, the doctor will have to allot time to make hardcopy or written notes on a patient.

    However, when an automated system is used, the doctor can have more time to spend with the patient. The patient can feel that he/she is being cared for, just by having a doctor that spends an extra few minutes with them and explains their condition carefully.

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    Better Organization of Patient Information

    Opponents of electronic medical records and patient safety might say that the use of a database of information makes it easier for someone to breach security and access personal information. However, many hospitals and other medical facilities can now organize patient information in a more efficient manner. This makes it easier for any requests for patients to see the medical information.

    The way in which patient information can be better organized is one of the greatest benefits of electronic medical records. Anyone who has worked in a medical facility in which patient files are still on paper will understand how complicated and defeating this can be. This is especially true for patients with long term illnesses or multiple illnesses.

    The use of an electronic system eliminates the need for large paper files or multiple paper files that a doctor has to read through or can potentially be lost. Instead it is all nicely laid out for the medical professional, with all the current diagnoses updated.

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