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  • Writer's pictureAmir Gilboa

What is EMR and why should I need it?

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

Up until recent years, and in some places still today, all records of medical visits in clinics, institutes, hospitals, and HMOs were done manually.

The patient would arrive at the reception, and a paper visit chart was opened and registered for them. Relevant documents that the patient brought, referral letters, and more were attached to this chart.

This chart accompanied the patient throughout the entire treatment upon being discharged and receiving a discharge letter.

In recent years, EMR or EHR systems are becoming increasingly center stage.

This refers to Electronic Medical Records or Electronic Health Records - which is a computerized medical registration management system.

These systems have many advantages:

First, there is no longer a need to use paper, everything is computerized, easily documented, and saved.

In addition, when a patient arrives, their entire history is immediately displayed, it shows if they have previously visited the clinic or hospital, what their diagnosis was, whether they suffer from any issues or symptoms that need to be considered, and more.

With time, medical data-sharing systems also entered the market, which enabled viewing data about the patient not just internally but also from other medical organizations. However, we will elaborate on this another time.

It is important to understand that EMR systems are divided into several types and support different processes.

There are systems that solely support the clinical treatment, meaning that they present the basic information about the patient and focus on the treatment process performed.

For example, the information for a patient who came to an inpatient ward at a hospital will be documented throughout the treatment such as measurements taken upon admission, visiting rounds, doctor summaries, medication, and more.

These systems do not handle issues such as charges, payments, dealing with insurances (the HMOs for example) and so on.

On top of these systems that usually exist in hospitals, there are additional systems that handle administrative, financial and logistics management.

There are systems that include both aspects, the administrative side as well as the clinical one. These systems are usually used by clinics or small institutions and provide a comprehensive answer to all the needs of the clinic.

Another difference is how the EMR systems are installed and used. Up until recent years, most of these systems were software systems that physically had to be installed on client computers or servers in the clinic or hospital - what is referred to in the professional language as On-Premises.

With the advancement of cloud computing, systems installed on cloud servers started developing and all they now require is opening a browser that allows users to browse the web and connect to the internet.

In the next posts, we will elaborate on the challenges that can be found on the different EMR systems, the meaning of the location of their installment, as well as information security and privacy.

I would love to hear your opinion and if you have further questions.



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