What is EMR?

What is EMR?

Electronic Medical Records Help You:

  • Optimize productivity and efficiency
  • Save space
  • Improve quality of care
  • Increase revenue
  • Achieve more accurate charting and documentation

Optimize productivity and efficiency

EMR is used by the majority of healthcare organizations in today’s world. Facilities rely on these solutions to streamline workflows and ensure proper treatment is provided. Many of these systems provide dynamic scheduling tools which automatically line up patient visits with the correct exam room, equipment and physician.

By allowing patients to book appointments online, your front desk staff can spend more time dealing with clerical tasks and less time with tedious tasks.

An EMR gives physicians all of the crucial patient data they need while flowing that information throughout a healthcare facility’s various departments. Once a patient’s record is created or edited, that information is updated to the EMR in real time, making sure all providers have access to the most up-to-date patient information. These systems can also increase your clinic’s daily traffic without hindering the level of care and attention provided. Below are some common EMR features that help to improve your clinic’s productivity and efficiency:

  • Scheduling
  • Real-Time Data Retrieval
  • Configurable Templates/Notes
  • Workflow Dashboard
  • Online Patient Check-In

Save space

Debatably the main reason for the creation of electronic medical records has to do with the amount of space paper records tend to take up. For larger health organizations and hospitals, entire rooms or storage facilities may be dedicated solely for the purpose of storing patient data. With years and years of patient information, these spaces can fill up quickly and can make locating a specific patient’s chart both time consuming and difficult. By copying and transferring patient records to be accessed digitally, health facilities are able to save money on storage or repurpose those spaces for something else.

Improve quality of care

One of the benefits an EMR provides for health organizations has to do with the higher quality of patient treatment and diagnosis that is made possible. Physicians can access a patient’s information electronically from anywhere, while updates made to that chart can be done so in real time, providing other departments and providers with accurate and up-to-date patient data. Providers can also communicate with patients online using the EMR. Physicians can exchange messages with patients, video chat for web appointments, send out alerts and reminders, and more.

Many EMR solutions allow you to compare patient data with that of other patients. This can help to recognize patterns and provide physicians with an accurate assessment of a patient. These solutions can often help predict a patient’s diagnosis as well as offer potential treatment types that should be most effective.

Additionally, a patient’s medication can be handled electronically; physicians can request refills from the pharmacy, track the status of medications and automatically check for any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions that may occur based on the patient’s current medication and/or diagnosis. If a patient is complaining about a specific side effect, your physicians are able to quickly look up that medication to see if it is a normal occurrence or a result of one of these interactions. EMR can also increase patient safety by preventing dosage errors and confirming the correct medication is being received by the patient. Check out some of these common features of EMR solutions in relation to care quality:

  • Health Analytics
  • E-Prescribing
  • Medication History
  • Telehealth
  • Population Health

Increase revenue

Most EMRs provide tools to manage your health organization’s financials. These features are designed to help with billing and payment, managing claims, and verifying insurance. You can rest easy knowing that your facility won’t miss out on any potential revenue due while increasing first-time acceptance rates regarding insurance claims. Patients can also pay their bills online, making it easier on them to pay whenever works best for them. Your EMR system can also send out automatic alerts and reminders to clients regarding any upcoming or missed payments.

While the implementation of EMR, or any software for that matter, can be time-consuming and expensive, the return on investment is well worth it in the long run. Like we mentioned above, an EMR allows your physicians to see more patients each day, which means more revenue coming in. In addition, government incentives are given out to health organizations using a certified solution while meeting meaningful use standards. Eligible facilities can earn anywhere in the tens of thousands of dollars in financial incentives simply for implementing a system. Conversely, the penalties for not meeting these certification requirements can be just as hefty as the incentives they bring. Here are some of the common tools that EMR offers to help with the financial aspect of your business.

  • Billing/Payment
  • Revenue Cycle Management
  • Claims Management
  • Online Payments
  • Patient Reminders

Achieve more accurate charting and documentation

While charting sensitive patient information electronically, rather than on paper, helps save space and makes for easier access to such data, it’s also a good way to ensure accurate patient data moving forward. An EMR eliminates the worry of any theft, tampering or misplacement of important patient information, while making such data accessible to your physicians in one centralized location. Entering this data electronically reduces the amount of errors that come with doing so manually, while also ridding documents of potential handwriting or legibility mistakes.

With patient information being updated to the EMR in real time, you can rest easy knowing that all your providers have access to an up-to-date and accurate patient record. Below are some EMR tools that can help speed up the documentation of patient records while improving the accuracy of that information:

  • Patient History
  • Voice/Text Recognition
  • Patient Demographics
  • Patient-Specific Notes
  • Configurable Health Plans
  • HIPAA Compliant


How Does EMR Work?

As we’ve somewhat discussed, EMR works by allowing healthcare professionals to electronically record patient information, such as demographics, medical history, diagnosis, medication, lab results and more. This information is then accessible to other physicians from different departments throughout your facility. Essentially, saving sensitive documents electronically rather than in physical storage areas makes for easier access to important patient information while improving the accuracy of data involved.

How Do I Know I’m Ready for an EMR?

It can be hard to know when your health organization is ready for EMR implementation. Most medical facilities will benefit from the use of these solutions, while others may be required by law to implement such systems. Here are a few things to keep in mind that may help indicate the implementation of an EMR is necessary in order to improve your facility’s operations.

  • Missed revenue due to rejected claims
  • Spending too much time documenting or charting
  • Experiencing documentation errors or handwriting/legibility issues
  • Issues with misplaced or damaged patient records
  • Inconsistencies with diagnosis or treatment
  • Space for storing physical documents is overflowing or scarce

How Do I Select an EMR System?

When considering EMR systems for your healthcare organization, it’s of the utmost importance to factor in your facility’s specific wants and needs. Certain EMRs are geared toward medical specialties while others can be seen as more universal, so it’s important to understand exactly what you’ll be using yours for. With so many different options available and a variety of tools and features offered, it’s important to pick the solution that will work best for your practice. When choosing an EMR, the selection process can be strenuous, so it’s a good idea to check out our EMR Software Requirements Checklist or our EMR Software Comparison Chart.

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EMR articles are written and edited by:

Zachary Totah

Content Manager

As SelectHub’s Content Manager, Zachary Totah leads a team of more than 35 writers and editors in their quest to provide content that helps software buyers find the right system for their company.

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Ryan McElroy

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Ryan McElroy is a Content Editor and Senior Market Analyst at SelectHub who writes content on EHR, EMR, home health, telemedicine and construction scheduling.

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Kashish Arora

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Kashish Arora is a Technical Writer at SelectHub. She pursued her master’s degree in Journalism from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication.

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