Electronic medical records reduce healthcare costs but there are growing concerns about the accuracy and usability of EMRs. Some even claim that the risks of EMR-caused medical errors are growing.
Although EMRs have been around for years, the ability for patients to view, download, and transmit their own medical records to providers means it is time for providers to pay special attention to proper medical maintenance.
As physicians move from clinic to clinic or hospital to hospital during their workday, they will have to use multiple EMRs from different vendors; each EMR may have different discrepancies in the medical record.
EMRs allow patients to input their own information, which some providers worry will create an influx of nonmedical information creating more chance for medical error.
Some providers are interested to have patients enter their own blood sugars and blood pressures, for now the only mechanism for patients to correct their data is via messaging. If they notice a problem that they disagree with they must go through their provider to correct it. As of now, EMRs are not a collaborative space, but many vendors are moving towards making EMRs a place for physicians and patients to jointly curate the information in the medical record.
These changes reflect an upturn in modern U.S. healthcare from discretion to transparency in everything providers do. Everyone inputting information will have to keep in mind that at any moment their notes may be made public for informed decisions and choices to be made.
Many involved with EMRs claim that it is necessary to proactively audit the records for copy-and-paste issues, copy-forward issues, and general compliance. The task of auditing records cannot be left to billing specialists or coders, it should be assigned to staff who will audit records for their clinical quality.