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Benefits of EHR: advantages and disadvantages for patients and medical staff

Apr 27, 2022

8 minutes read

According to the analytical agency Frost&Sullivan, the market for digital medical solutions in 2021 amounted to $6 billion. At the same time, annual growth approached the 40% mark. This means that in the world’s developed countries, there is a significant growth in electronic medical records, the possibility of remote patient management, and the sale of medicines via the Internet.

Implementing EHR systems allows clinics to facilitate their work and automate it significantly. Doctors will have quick access to all the necessary information, and patients can be sure that the accuracy of diagnostics will dramatically increase.

Let’s take a closer look at what EHR is, as well as what are the electronic health records pros and cons.

What is EHR?

Electronic Health Record (EHR) stores information regarding all medical diseases. The data is stored in a specially authorized center (Health Authority). Medical records may be available to other authorized centers and representatives of medical services, as well as laboratories, government institutions, etc., to improve the quality of healthcare.

Thanks to electronic health records, it became possible to store information about the patient, keep a complete medical history, save data on prescriptions and medicines, and systematize and analyze the available information. Both, the patient and the doctor he addresses, have access to the records.

The records may contain a complete history of a person’s visits to various medical institutions, test and vaccination forms, and data on allergies and all diseases. This allows doctors in medical institutions to obtain complete information about a person quickly, more accurately prescribe treatment, and significantly reduce the amount of paperwork.

Related: How to create an EHR: cost, development, features

The concept of “electronic health records” was first introduced in the mid-1960s by the American physician and entrepreneur Lawrence Ot. In 1972, representatives of the Regenstrief Institute in Illinois developed the first electronic medical records system. Given the quality and efficiency of computer equipment at the time, the first EHR of its kind was not widely adopted by medical institutions and physicians.

But the rapid development of semiconductor technologies, microprocessors, and software at the end of the 20th century made it possible to improve new EHR systems significantly. Since 2010, the world’s countries have begun to introduce effective EMC management systems.

According to the World Health Organization, over the past 15 years, there has been a steady increase in the implementation of national EHR management systems. Between 2011 and 2016, the growth rate was 46%.

Of course, their adoption primarily concerns middle- and high-income countries, which at least can create a practical digital registry and provide doctors with the tools to complete it.

Key benefits of electronic health records

Electronic health records have several significant advantages for both doctors and their patients. Since bureaucracy is reduced, the time for collecting information about a person is also reduced, and the patient receives treatment faster. In addition, the overall level of medical services is increasing.

A significant advantage is that the data on the patient’s condition is stored in a safe place — secure cloud storage. Thus, complete information about all diseases and features cannot be lost and is available in any hospital.

The other key benefits of EHR include:

  • The record contains a history of changes in the patient’s body throughout life. Such complete information in quick access will help doctors conduct analytics and make more accurate diagnoses.
  • Systematized information, which is not stored in paper form, but in digital format, allows medical organizations to conduct effective research. In particular, according to the statistics on diseases.
  • The records allow the implementation of individual programs to control the quality of health care in the country.
  • The ability to add digitized data from paper maps to the database allows the government and other agencies to make more accurate forecasts based on a large amount of data.

Key benefits of EHR for patients

The first and most important benefit that the patient receives is the possibility not to worry about the safety of their data. Previously, if a paper certificate was lost, the patient could be left without medication, or he had to re-pass the necessary tests. With EHR, all data is stored in the cloud and is always available. This is the main benefit of EHR vs paper.

Also, sometimes it is necessary to consult a different doctor. When using EHR, a new doctor will be able to access all the data instantly without reading lots of paper certificates.

The use of the EHR helps the patients track their health status throughout their life. So the doctor will be able to make more accurate diagnoses and offer optimal treatment.

Finally, any patient will appreciate the general convenience. If they get to the hospital in an emergency, they would not worry that the doctors will not know their medical history or data on allergies. Medical teams will quickly have access to all information and be able to work efficiently.

Key benefits of EHR for hospitals and healthcare professionals

While the benefits of an efficient electronic health record system are clear to patients (no paper records, privacy protection, ease of use of health services, etc.), those benefits may not seem apparent to physicians. But this is only at first glance.

In fact, EHR frees physicians from the day-to-day tasks of filling out heaps of paperwork while also allowing them to generate reports automatically and focus on delivering quality care to their patients.

In just a few clicks, a medical worker can get a patient’s complete medical history and make the right decision regarding further treatment. This minimizes the risk of errors in records and wrong choices due to human error and generally improves the quality of service.

After implementing EHR, the doctor will have complete control over the treatment process since the electronic medical record is the main module of the program and is based on a single database. It stores all the necessary medical information and provides quick access to it to all specialists.

An electronic health record allows you to conduct:

  • documentation of medical examinations, including preliminary examination, epicrisis, and diary entries.
  • registration of patient diagnoses.
  • registration of medical appointments to the patient (consultations, laboratory, instrumental studies, procedures, etc.) and their results.

With the help of an electronic medical record, a specialist can control the entire patient treatment process: from the first visit to the final appointment.

There are several advantages of implementing EHR for private clinics:

  • Increasing the profitability of a medical institution. This effect is achieved by detecting the inefficiency of personnel actions, optimizing work processes, and increasing the average bill.
  • The expansion of the customer base. This process occurs due to the improvement of the quality of treatment and patient satisfaction. A client of a medical institution with great desire and loyalty seeks further help.
  • The level of dependence on staff turnover is reduced. This is due to a decrease in the adaptation period of new specialists. Thanks to the operation of the EHR software, all errors that employees make will be displayed in the system in real-time. As a result, they can be fixed and eliminated in time.

A good clinic management decision should be seen as an investment, not a cost. By streamlining all your business processes, you will end up saving far more money than spending on a good health information system. This is because the best tools act as ecosystems rather than standalone products, which is especially important when it comes to tracking and optimizing your promotions.

What are the disadvantages of electronic health records?

In reality, all the benefits can only be obtained in the case of mass use of EHR by doctors and are subject to easy data exchange between different EHR systems. Medicine is a whole network where doctors, pharmacists, laboratory assistants, and insurance companies interact. They all use different systems, and all need access to patient data.

Therefore, the main disadvantage of EHR is that the system does not yet have all the data. The good news is that this shortcoming can be easily corrected. As more clinics and companies implement EHR systems, more and more data will be in the databases.

Related: EHR Usability: How to Evaluate and Improve

It is also not surprising that physicians, people not working in IT, are often the leading opponents of the use of EHR. They need to spend money to buy the system, spend time learning how to use it, and enter current patient data into the system.

Out of habit, often writing a diagnosis and a prescription on a piece of paper is much faster than finding the name of the disease and the necessary drugs in the database. All this at first slows down the doctor’s work, which in the conditions of paid medicine, decreases his profit.

This shortcoming will also improve over time. Physicians will become accustomed to using the EHR, start doing it faster and appreciate the convenience of built-in databases. Prescriptions on paper will soon become as anachronistic as paper letters.


Informatization simplifies and optimizes the management of hospitals without the use of unnecessary paperwork and resources, helps to form personnel, and manages finances and material resources. The digitalization of the medical industry contributes to the development of telemedicine, the mass introduction of remote counseling, and online ambulances.

To learn more about how implementing EHR can help your practice, contact us today. We will tell you about the benefits you will receive and suggest how to overcome the difficulties during the implementation process.

Many years of experience, a team of qualified specialists, and dozens of successful cases will allow us to help you switch to using EHR as seamlessly as possible.

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