Paper-Based Medical Records vs. Electronic medical records

in Recording

Medical institutions in the US still prefer to use paper to gather information from their patients and to record medical procedures, observations, and prescriptions. Some practitioners and physicians find accessing digital records somewhat complicated than getting a piece of paper and a pen.

In the US, medical records are kept for seven years; until then, they can go ahead and dispose them. What makes manual keeping of records very exhausting is the mere fact that every day, thousands of new records are being stored in hospitals. It would be very complicated to sort medical records of all patients that keep increasing every minute. This complexity often arises to errors that can greatly affect the daily happenings in hospitals, clinics, and all other health care institutions. Aside from being time-consuming, collating records can be tough when there is no main paperback that will contain all information.

Electronic medical records eliminate these problems. With electronic medical record, physicians and medical practitioners can easily access the necessary information they need from the patient to proceed with the treatment. Physicians can make use of electronic tablets to check the vital records, laboratory tests results, previous medications taken, surgery and other treatments records, and present health condition. Instead of scanning from a thick file of documents, doctors can view all of the said information in one click.

Electronic medical records can be accessed in any health institution that uses the same program. This greatly reduces the cost of faxing, mailing, and transporting medical documents from different institutions. If a patient is transferred to another hospital for further treatment, his information can be readily available to the hospital that will take his case.

Another advantage of having electronic patient information is accuracy. Many times, transcriptionists find it hard to understand the writings of physicians; leading to errors. Digital records will provide them with standard text format that is absolutely readable. It also has security encryptions that will safeguard patients’ information. There were numerous cases of lost medical records and documents in hospitals making use of papers and storing them on big file cabinets which are most of the time- unattended.

Nevertheless, electronic medical records may require huge investment from entities and organizations using them. The entire system will need a staff of technical associates that will maintain the resources and information. It would also be real hard for physicians to access information if the system is down or there have been technical issues in computers. Aside from these, privacy issues and legality are of concern as well. Critics of this technology argue the possible proliferation of confidential information. Another thing is that the networking features of electronic medical records cannot be utilized when a certain hospital or health care provider does not make use of the same program so there is still need to transport records manually.

Medical electronic records still have flaws to be straightened out. There are things that need improvement. Still, electronic digital information can be very effective if highly developed and recognized.

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M.C. Kinnon has 3 articles online

M.C. Kinnon is the author of The Digital Patient. His book looks at and explains the medical information revolution; how your doctor is using your digital medical information to beter manage your health. As well as how you can take control of your medical information. For more information of his work, visit

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Paper-Based Medical Records vs. Electronic medical records

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Paper-Based Medical Records vs. Electronic medical records

This article was published on 2011/06/06