Electronic medical records are essentially a digital version of the paper records that medical practitioners use to keep track of patient information on a regular basis. Though these records, also commonly referred to as EMRs, are still a relatively new technology, they have been able to revolutionize the way medical professionals operate on a daily basis. Electronic medical records are also continuing to evolve and there are a number of important changes that are just on the horizon with regards to the way these types of systems are implemented across the board.
One of the major up-and-coming changes in electronic medical records will be an increased emphasis on the benefits of cloud-based technology. In the context of an EMR deployment, cloud-based technology would allow medical practices to store important patient information and other records on servers that are connected to the Internet instead of on computers that are physically located in a doctor’s office. Under this system, it would be easier for medical professionals to share patient records with one another and lower the overall amount of equipment that any one practice needs to buy.
If electronic medical records are stored in the cloud, the total number of desktop computers that would normally be required purchases for a doctor’s office can be reduced dramatically, thus allowing those locations to significantly cut costs. The records would no longer need to be accessed in front of a computer terminal and instead would be readily available on any device that is connected to the Internet like a smartphone or tablet.
Additionally, patients who change physicians for one or more reasons would instantly benefit from both the old and the new medical professional who had embraced cloud-based electronic medical records. Because the information would already be accessible on the Internet, both medical professionals would essentially have access to the same information at the same time. There would be no need for the new doctor to wait to receive medical records from the previous doctor before the patient in question could be adequately treated.
Thanks to the emerging trend of cloud-based infrastructure, another up-and-coming change with regards to electronic medical records have to do with the security protocols that govern the system itself. Medical records of any kind are already private documents that are heavily protected by various rules and regulations on both local and federal government levels. Upcoming changes would tighten the requirements for individuals who can access these records thanks largely to the fact that they would become so readily available.
Additional security measures would also need to be put in place to protect these records from outside threats. In the days of paper records, the only way that someone with malicious intentions could gain unauthorized access to a patient’s records would be to physically take that file from a doctor’s office. With electronic records that are stored in the cloud, additional levels of encryption and other security measures would need to be deployed to prevent outside access to the system from hackers and other types of intruders, many of whom have already proved to be incredibly efficient thanks to large scale data breaches in the United States at large retail locations like Home Depot, Target and more.
Electronic medical records are continuing to evolve, as any type of emerging technology tends to do. One thing is for sure: with changes on the horizon focusing on the overall ease of use, providing easy access to information, and securing that information from unwanted individuals, EMRs will continue to benefit both patients and practitioners on a daily basis.