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A medical history is like a story — it tells the status of our health and can even predict the future. Every symptom, onset, illness, medications, diagnosis, past treatment plans are interdependent and are critical to patient care.
Yet, how many of us are really educated about our own health? In healthcare, it is believed that the efficacy of a treatment plan is directly dependent on the information a patient can divulge on his own medical history, but our documentation is largely dependent on our memories and at best on previous paper works, which largely compromises the accuracy of the history.
The problem lies in the fact that we continue to remain dependent on paperwork to document our medical history, which can be messy and hard to maintain. It’s time for us to take control of our own health by understanding it, documenting it and securing it for a healthy tomorrow. It’s time, especially in India, for medical records to enter the digital era and make the most of Electronic Medical Record (EMR).
What Is EMR?
EMR is a technological advancement in healthcare that does away with the traditional paper-based documentation of medical records. The digital version records and documents patient’s medical history and data gets added with every visit to a physician. In simple words, an EMR provides you access to your complete history virtually, anytime, anywhere.
Advantages Of EMR
There are many advantages of EMR for both patients and healthcare providers. For patients, it eliminates the need to store and carry paper reports every time they visit a physician. With EMR, practically, they carry their complete healthcare records with them wherever they go.
In terms of safety and better care for the patients, EMR can be beneficial in more than one way. It eliminates the legibility issues of prescriptions and reports, provides 24x7 access to healthcare records, reduces duplication, saves time, helps healthcare providers in better decision-making by understanding patient allergies, current medications, accurate dosages, previous diagnoses and treatment plans.
Once adopted, EMR will serve as a seamless communication platform whenever a patient migrates from one physician to another, as the comprehensive information allows the physician with a better understanding of patient’s history. EMR can also play a pivotal role in documenting vital signs, and the retention of information over periods of time can help a physician make competent informed treatment decisions.
EMR In Indian Scenario
With a population of billion plus people, India is plagued with a daunting challenge to make healthcare accessible to all. Technology plays a pivotal role in enabling accessibility and keeping in mind that India is home to exceptionally talented Information Technology professionals, it’s time to integrate them to solve the challenges moving ahead. Recording, documenting, tracking and sharing of healthcare records can be achieved through EMR, and the data can strongly support Insurance Providers, Researchers, and Pharmaceutical Industries. The fragmentation of records can easily be addressed by linking Aadhar’s UID numbers to patient’s EMRs.
The future Of EMR In India
One should note that majority of the developed countries have already adopted EMRs. The corporate hospitals in India have in fact started using EMRs to capture patient’s data, however, the EMRs are rarely exchanged between the hospitals and most times the EMR of patients remain with the hospitals and are only used for reference when the same patient visits again.
There are many players who have developed EMRs in India; however, each comes with its own advantages and limitations. In a country like India, one should factor in the ground realities that majority of our population is computer illiterate, technological challenged and vast demographics belong to rural areas. Considering these fact, India needs an EMR that is comprehensive, user friendly, easy to learn and use to make patient healthcare safe and secure.