The digital revolution of recent decades has profoundly transformed healthcare. New chemical engineering technologies, advances in robotics, and mobile computer systems have appeared in recent years and improve the work of healthcare providers.
The electronic medical record (EMR) stands out among technological advances. It has brought a plethora of benefits for both care providers and patients at a minimal security risk.
The Benefits of Electronic Medical Records
Enhancing healthcare efficiency is perhaps the most evident way EMRs have changed the healthcare industry. Patients’ EMRs are easily accessible through mobile computer carts in a clinic.
Care providers can quickly access and share medical records in a database. Keeping an electronic database minimizes the risk of losing medical records.
EMRs also increase productivity because care providers can access and compute data more quickly than before with mobile or stationary computer workstations.
EMRs decrease cost by decreasing duplicate testing, as past testing and results are immediately available to physicians.
Additionally, EMRs often result in better treatment outcomes. Accurate and updated patient information makes it easier to see the bigger picture and track trends in a patient’s history. The ability to readily access so much information has allowed for greater accuracy in diagnoses and prescriptions.
Finally, EMRs protect patient privacy, even though storing health information electronically raises concerns about cybersecurity. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures that healthcare providers secure EMR access.
Safety measures include access controls, like passwords, encryption, and audit trails. These measures ensure that only authorized personnel access information, and information breaches are rare.
EMR and Mobile Laptop Carts
Mobile medical devices can bring the benefits of EMR to point of care locations. Powered carts can be fixed with standing desks, keyboard trays, and, of course, computers.
Electronic medical equipment is usually battery powered, which can result in problems when the charge runs low. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable, and some are even hot-swappable so care powered medical carts can stay on the job for multiple shifts.
Aside from computers, powered carts make medication carts and electronic medication dispensing possible. With features like height adjustment and locking drawers, computer carts are easy to use, safely.
Computer Carts Improve EMR Accuracy
Medical-grade computer carts were designed to make EMR available to caregivers on the job, but mobile computing capabilities also enhance the accuracy of medical records. When nurses and doctors can bring computers into patients’ rooms, healthcare professionals can take notes and input information in real-time.
On-the-go inputs can be verified and clarified with the patient so physicians can ensure they’re inputting only true and accurate information into the EMR.
Using Computer Carts and EMR to Improve Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is an important, but often overlooked, part of caregiving. If you can’t impress the importance of sticking to a treatment regime, patient compliance is likely to be low and result in poor patient outcomes.
Having a patient’s medical records on hand during an appointment is a great way to enhance the patient/physician dialogue. EMR access also gives physicians a quick reference for answering questions so patients feel involved and in charge of their own care.
EMR and Apple
In March 2018, Apple promised to further transform healthcare by introducing the Apple Health Records beta app in one of its iOS updates. This update allows users to download their EMRs onto their iPhones. While Apple hopes to make medical care even more efficient and give users more control over their health, this update comes with risks that are hard to ignore.
Why Downloading your EMR to an iPhone may be Dangerous
There are dangers, primarily related to user privacy, associated with storing your EMR in your smartphone.
The app can store information about patients’ health conditions, allergies, test results, immunizations, medications, and vitals. It goes without saying that this information is extremely sensitive.
Apple has claimed that health information will be encrypted and that it will not pass through Apple’s servers. Yet, despite Apple’s efforts to secure this information, the extent to which Apple can truly guarantee its privacy is questionable. This is highlighted by the 2014 iCloud celebrity hack. Although this hack involved phishing and targeting specific individuals, it still casts doubt on the claim that Apple can ensure data is fully protected.
Equally concerning is the fact that anyone with access to a user’s iPhone can discover their records. Unlike medical laptop carts on wheels and other devices in a clinic that contain EMRs, personal smartphones do not always come with security to ensure the wrong users can’t access sensitive information.
Advancing technology can provide unimaginable benefits for the healthcare industry and its patients, but it also comes with unpredictable risks. When documents as sensitive as medical records are involved, it is probably best to proceed with caution.
Use EMR Well
High-quality computer carts equipped with EMR are invaluable resources to modern clinics. Scott-Clark Medical computer carts and batteries help healthcare facilities leverage EMR to improve patient outcomes.
To learn more about medical carts and how they can improve the way your medical facility works, contact Scott-Clark Medical at (512) 756-7300.