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Electronic Health Record 101

Electronic health records are the basis of modern healthcare, so understanding what they are and how they’re used in modern healthcare systems is essential. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know.

What Is an EHR?

An electronic health record, or EHR, is an electronic version of a patient’s healthcare history. Instead of the traditional paper chart, this electronic health record includes all the pertinent information about a patient, including demographics, progress notes, medications, vitals, history and more. Since they’re electronic, these records can include much more information for a more comprehensive view of a patient’s health, streamlining clinical workflows significantly.mental health professional using an EHR

EHRs aren’t to be confused with EMRs, or electronic medical records, which tend to be kept within a practice. Though the two records tend to include similar information, EHRs travel more easily from one provider to another, as they are designed to be shared.

How Are EHRs Used?

EHRs contain a variety of information about patients, including their medical and healthcare history, diagnoses, lab results, allergies, treatment plans, medications and more. All this information is kept in a single file, which can then be used to:

  • Automatically fill out forms, reducing the incidence of error due to duplication
  • Automatically track updates in a patient’s care, medications and behaviors, along with the dates of those updates
  • Minimize or eliminate issues with handwritten notes
  • Allow immediate access to all current information about a patient, reducing delays in treatment
  • Improve access to information about a patient when that patient moves from one provider to another

This last use is one of the key features of an EHR – since an EHR is electronic, it can be shared with other authorized providers across multiple healthcare organizations. This helps improve the quality of patient records, in turn improving the quality of care.

The Benefits of EHR

These qualities of EHR systems result in impressive benefits, making them valuable clinical software solutions for any healthcare practice. Some of the benefits of EHR systems include:

  • Less Paperwork: In the healthcare industry, paperwork takes up a large amount of time, from patient forms to insurance claims. This can mean significant labor for clinicians and back-office workers. With an EHR system, much of this paperwork is automated, reducing the amount of time spent on any single form. Additionally, because they’re electronic, EHR systems are easier to send and store, reducing time spent copying, faxing and filing.
  • Quality Care: EHR systems allow practices to exchange information about patients more quickly, often in real time. This means all the information given to a clinician at the time of care is accurate and up-to-date. This improves the quality of care through improved diagnoses, reduced errors and minimized wait times. EHRs also improve patient’s involvement in their care by sending automated reminders, enhancing the quality of care further through preventative maintenance.
  • Pharmaceutical Management: EHRs play a large factor in pharmaceutical management, as pharmacists and providers can communicate more easily with EHR systems. Dosage miscommunications and prescription duplications are kept to a minimum with electronic prescriptions instead of paper ones, and dangerous drug interactions can be identified earlier through automatic checks.
  • Increased Efficiency: EHR systems help maximize productivity in healthcare organizations, allowing for quicker access to patient information. Clinicians can easily access information about any of their patients through a centralized electronic chart system, reducing the amount of time needed to find and read a file before a visit. Providers can even request and access EHRs from other practices, gaining all the information from a patient’s previous physicians and therapists so that they can verify patient information. This ease of access also applies to communication across the healthcare field, between clinicians, insurance providers, pharmacies and labs, minimizing wait times and saving time, improving productivity overall.
  • Financial Incentives: If the above benefits weren’t enough, an EHR system can prove to be a long-term financial benefit to a practice. Not only are there multiple federal incentives to switch to EHR systems, like the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, but EHRs also decrease long-term costs through reduced labor, minimized material costs and improved patient turnaround.

These benefits can be enhanced by any number of other features, like electronic signature management and web-based EHRs. Electronic signatures can help streamline verification processes, while web-based EHR systems can improve access for clinicians.

Why Choose Orion?

So, why choose Orion’s AccuCare EHR solutions over other options on the market? Our solutions are built specifically for the addictions and behavioral health field, while most other are systems are not. We focus specifically on behavioral and mental health services, so all of our solutions, from EHR to billing, are built for your industry. On top of it all, we focus on simple, easy-to-understand systems, so our solutions are easy to implement in your organization, minimizing the cost to you.

The AccuCare EHR software is easy to use and provides a secure connection to all important patient records. Since AccuCare is web-based, it is scalable and can grow with your business. We also offer continuous support from a seamless implementation to ongoing assistance.

Learn More

If you want a mental health EHR system that’s built for your organization’s needs, Orion Healthcare Technology has the solutions for you. Call 800.324.7966 or contact us today for a free consultation and estimate for our web-based EHR solutions.

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