The Role of Electronic Health Records in Improving Healthcare Accessibility

The Role of Electronic Health Records in Improving Healthcare Accessibility

Adopting new electronic health record systems can seem overwhelming. Learn how you can seamlessly incorporate Tryten’s exceptionally versatile, durable, and easy-to-use mobile EHR carts into your existing healthcare systems.

Electronic health records (EHRs) have revolutionized how healthcare is delivered. By allowing for the storage of patient information in a centralized electronic format, EHRs have made it easier for healthcare providers to access and share data, streamlining patient care and improving the overall quality of service.

But beyond improving the efficiency of healthcare delivery, EHRs also have the potential to improve healthcare accessibility and equity. Read on to learn the advantages EHRs offer you and your patients and how they can help improve healthcare accessibility.

What Are the Current Challenges of Healthcare Accessibility?

Access to quality healthcare services is a basic right for every individual. However, some may face certain challenges to healthcare accessibility.

Rising Healthcare Costs

One of the most pressing challenges of healthcare accessibility today is the rising cost of medical care. 

Healthcare costs have been steadily increasing in recent years, making it difficult for many patients to afford the necessary treatments or procedures they require. Many medical treatments are too expensive for them to cover out of pocket, leaving them with no way to receive the care they need. According to KFF, 47% of U.S. adults state that they have difficulty affording healthcare costs, with about 40% of them delaying or going without medical care due to cost.

Geographic Limitations

Unfortunately, individuals who live in rural or remote areas may face a lack of healthcare infrastructure. They may have difficulty accessing medical facilities due to a lack of transportation options or the limited availability of medical professionals in their region.

This can cause difficulty in obtaining quality healthcare services. As a result, patients may not get the treatment they need.

Additionally, individuals living in certain communities may not be aware of available health services or may face language barriers when attempting to access care.

Lack of Resources

A general lack of resources — including healthcare IT software, staff, PPE, infrastructure, and more — is one major challenge that plagues the healthcare industry today. According to a study conducted by Definitive Healthcare, over 25% of providers feel that a lack of resources is the biggest barrier to moving to a value-based care system today.

Meeting Healthcare Accessibility Challenges

A lack of healthcare accessibility leads to worsened outcomes for your practice and your patients. So how can you meet these challenges to improve patient access to quality care services?
There are several ways:

  • Adapt a value-based care model and expand patient-centered care to include social support and transportation services.
  • Develop programs to help cover out-of-pocket costs for patients with limited financial resources.
  • Adopt telehealth technology like medical carts to facilitate remote care.
  • Provide interpreter services, such as video remote interpreting (VRI), for patients with limited English proficiency or cognitive impairments, such as hearing loss or deafness.
  • Use mobile health and communication technologies to reach underserved populations.
  • Expand access to virtual primary care visits, such as video and phone calls, for individuals with limited transportation or mobility needs.

Another excellent way is to leverage the power of technology by implementing health IT systems, such as electronic health records (EHR), into your practice.

What Are Electronic Health Records?

Electronic health records (EHRs) are digital versions of the traditional “paper” medical records used by healthcare providers. They are maintained and managed by healthcare organizations and include patient data, such as:

  • Medical history
  • Diagnosis
  • Medications
  • Treatments
  • Clinical notes
  • Vital signs
  • And more

They are typically stored in a secure digital database, and you can access them via a secure computer network. You can also use them in various hospital settings, including public hospitals and private practices.

Advantages of Electronic Records for Patient Healthcare Accessibility

There are numerous electronic health records benefits for patients.

Improves Access To Personal Health Information

Digital health data is stored electronically in EHR systems. So, you and your patients can securely access health records from any device with an internet connection, allowing improved patient access to their health information.

Ability To View and Download Medical Records Anywhere

EHRs provide patients with more control over their data. They can access their records online and view information like lab results or past medical notes without having to wait for your office to respond. They can even download their records for their own personal storage.

Train Staff To Use and Troubleshoot the Technology

Integrating new technology into your practice can negatively affect your practice if you don’t train your staff to use and troubleshoot it.

When staff isn’t proficient with technology, it bogs down workflows and affects the patient experience. Your staff may spend more time focusing on the technology instead of the patient, leading to increased user error and employee and patient frustration. It can also lead to a breakdown of patient trust in the care team, negatively affecting the patient-care team relationship and patient satisfaction.

When you train your staff on how to use and troubleshoot video interpreting software, they can incorporate the technology into their workflow seamlessly. This leads to increased productivity, efficiency, and patient satisfaction.

Easier To Track and Manage Medical History, Medications, and Treatment

EHRs enable better tracking of patient care because they can follow a patient’s entire medical history over time. This allows you to refer back to old records and see if certain conditions have been present or treatments have been effective. 

You can also quickly and easily pull up any past medications and treatments that you’ve administered.

Reduces Risk of Errors and Miscommunication With Physicians

EHRs allow you to easily access a patient’s health information in one place, reducing the risk of misinterpretations or lost documents.

They can also help you avoid the potential risks of miscommunications or incorrect treatments due to data entry errors.

Minimizes Healthcare Costs and Maximizes Security of Patient Records

The increased use of EHRs can reduce healthcare costs and improve patient safety.

As more medical data is stored electronically, billing processes can become faster and more accurate. This leads to fewer errors and reduced claims processing costs. Furthermore, EHRs can help reduce duplicate tests and streamline care coordination because you can easily share data with other providers and systems. 

You may even receive additional financial incentives for implementing and upgrading your EHR software.

In addition to cost savings, EHRs also offer increased security for patient records. Patient data is encrypted, meaning it’s kept secure from external threats while providing patients access to their data.

Advantages of EHRs for Healthcare Professionals

EHRs aren’t only beneficial for patients. There are several electronic health records advantages for healthcare professionals as well.

Enhances Communication Between Providers

EHRs make it easier for healthcare professionals to share information quickly and accurately amongst themselves.

For instance, you can access records from multiple specialists at one time instead of having to wait for each specialist to manually enter their data into the record and send it to you.

Improves Quality of Care and Patient Satisfaction

EHRs allow you to access patient health data quickly and easily, which facilitates care quality improvement in several ways:

  • Provide important up-to-date information that helps inform decisions, guide treatment, and improve outcomes
  • Reduce medical errors
  • Improve patient safety
  • Increase the accuracy of diagnoses
  • Ensure that all members of a patient’s care team have access to the same up-to-date information
  • Allows you to develop deep learning models to predict various operational and clinical outcomes

EHRs also provide significant benefits for patients. Since they can access their records from multiple locations, they can get the care they need when they need it, no matter where they are. Additionally, EHRs are often paired with patient portals. So, patients can view their own records and communicate securely with their care team. By increasing transparency and patient engagement, EHRs can improve the quality of care while also boosting patient satisfaction.

Streamlines Medication Tracking and Prescribing

EHRs improve workflows by streamlining medication tracking and prescribing in several ways:

  • Centralizing information so you can access lists of medications the patient is currently taking, identify potential drug interactions, review patient allergies and intolerances, and order refills
  • Sending you reminders when patient refills are due or when drug interactions or safety risks require a change in medications
  • Sharing information with pharmacies and other providers, allowing them to track patient progress and reduce waiting times in the office
  • Track medication adherence
  • Send automated reminders to patients when it is time to take a dose or pick up new prescriptions.

This centralization of information allows you to have a clearer view of therapies patients tried in the past, contraindications to treatments based on medical history, and any prescriptions previously issued for the same medications. Thus, EHRs reduce prescribing errors and ensure patients receive the most effective medication for their condition.

It also ensures that patients have the medication they need and improves outcomes for patients who suffer from chronic illnesses.

Reduces Administrative Burdens and Tasks

EHRs allow your care team and administrative staff to easily access patient information, review visit history, document care, and review lab results without leaving their chairs. EHRs also automate key administrative processes by spurring automatic reminders for preventive care and screenings and tracking outcomes for better population health management.

Ultimately, reduce administrative burdens and tasks by:

  • Eliminating the need for manual record keeping
  • Reducing paperwork
  • Automating payment processes
  • Facilitating communication between providers

As a result, you have more time to devote to your patients, which increases patient satisfaction and your bottom line.

Overcome the Barriers of EHR Adoption With Tryten

Electronic health records have greatly influenced the future of healthcare and will continue to become a staple as providers switch to value-based care models. EHRs allow patients to access their information whenever and wherever they want, resulting in increased patient satisfaction. You can also access and share health information easily, allowing you to reduce administrative burdens and improve workflows. Thus, you can focus on what’s truly important — providing a higher quality of care to your patients.

Adopting new electronic health record systems can seem overwhelming. Tryten Technologies is here for you. We provide exceptionally versatile, durable, and easy-to-use mobile EHR carts that incorporate seamlessly into your existing systems. Contact us today to see how our EHR carts can help to streamline your workflows and increase patient satisfaction.