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An electronic medical record (EMRs) is a computer-based system for recording, managing, and delivering data concerning a patient. These computer-based records include any information taken by the doctor at the fist visit of the patient, which can be either physical, medical, laboratory test results or drugs prescription.
History of electronic medical records
A physician named Lawrence L. Weed first invented the development of these electronic records in the year 1960s. He describes this system to automate and reorganize the patient's medical record to enhance the utilization, therefore, an improvement in the medical industry.
This invention by Lawrence became the basis of the PROMIS projects in the University of Vermont. This lead to a collaboration of physicians and information technology experts to start developing an automated electronic medical record system (Carter, 2001). The objective for this project was to develop a system that could provide sequential and timely patient to physicians and facilitate a rapid collection of data for business audits, epidemiological studies and medical audits.
In 1970s, this medical record was first used in a medical ward of the medical center hospital of Vermont. This was the periods when the touch screen technology had been introduced to the data entry procedures. Between the period of 1970s and 1980s, these electronic medical record systems were further developed and refine by various research institutions (Carter, 2001).
With advancement in technology, these electronic medical records became increasingly complex and more used by medical practitioners in various countries especially the developed countries.
This system has displayed more advantage on its use as compared to the work of paper recording due to its capabilities. These include the ability to capturing data at the point of care, quick integration of data from multiple internal and external sources and its capability to support caregiver decision making.
Its efficiency for patients and their providers, as well as the health payment systems, has also been recorded. The need to replace paper medical recording which, most of the times are incomplete, hard to read and even hard to find has provided a single, up to date, shareable and accurate information to the medical practitioners (Rogers, 2002). This system is also capable to carry more information as it can manage information from multiple offices, as well as multiple types of record resources.
With the case of the paper-based systems, information can get lost more easily as compared to this electronic system which, secures records with a backup files even in case of emergencies.
Another advantage for this electronic system is the ability to coordinate care in the all of health care team (Science Daily). This reduces the cases of duplication of testing, prescription of medicine whose combination is dangerous, and the ability of the medical team member to understand the taken to a condition. Many medical practitioners are often considered having undecipherable handwriting, which may lead to mistakes, but by the use of this electronic system, typed information is likely to cause less misunderstanding.
Further research on the use of this system that contributes to the satisfaction of the patients and medical practitioners is necessary for the successful future development and implementation of its effectiveness.
Despite of the above positive impact on the health care, over time and time, there is reports of insecurity and lack of privacy to the health information about a patient. This is because this information are available online not any to the patient and his doctor but also to other health care providers (Science Daily). This has created a lot of concern on security and privacy of health- information technology tools.
In conclusion, to make this electronic medical record more effective, the federal government needs to invest in technology, which, is needed to develop new sets of quality measures on the use of the system.