Electronic medical records can improve patient care, improve effectiveness for doctors, reduce costs and provide a number of other benefits including:
- Quick and easy access to patients' health information: diagnostic imaging and lab results such as blood tests and x-rays, diagnoses, allergies and medications, are easily available when patients visit their family doctor or health care provider.
- Improved continuity, collaboration and quality care: efficient, secure and readily accessible information and communication within an electronic medical record facilitates continuity of care between health care providers, helps increase the timeliness of diagnoses and treatments and helps reduce the frequency of adverse events, such as prescription drug interactions.
- Reduced duplication and cost savings: easier to find information in a patient's chart, reducing the chance of a patient having duplicate tests and lab work which helps reduce costs.
- Increased privacy and security: privacy and security of patient information is increased with health care providers needing special authorization to access the electronic medical record system.
- Increased accuracy and enhanced legibility: accuracy and clarity of medical records (decreased need to interpret handwriting) is improved and associated risk of medical errors is reduced.
- Office management tools: provides tools and defined processes to support administrative needs, scheduling and billing, improving clinics' efficiency and helps to provide more timely service to patients.
- Proactive health care support: key benefits of an EMR over a paper based system are the ability to use electronic reminders, prompts and alerts to help ensure regular screenings and other preventive practices.
- Improved health system efficiencies: ability to link with external sources of health information such as acute care facilities reduces paperwork while providing quicker access to essential health information including diagnostic imaging and lab results such as blood tests and x-rays.
Nova Scotia is currently engaging health care providers to use the provincial electronic medical records program and the benefits are already showing. Improved patient care as a result of providers having more complete and up-to-date information at the point of care is only the beginning.
The success stories and videos from those who have made the move to EMR and have experienced the benefits first hand demonstrate this. With improved access to a patient's care history and ongoing access to the latest care and support tools, EMR is a major step into the future of health care for Nova Scotia.