In recent years, businesses, organizations, and agencies of all types have increasingly adapted to paperless, electronic methods of record keeping for a whole host of reasons. Keeping records without using paper is one of the many ways in which organizations are “going green,” and electronic records are generally much easier to sort through, exchange data with others, and keep track of relevant information through automation. The healthcare industry, one of the most record-heavy sectors, has seen a rise in the use of electronic record keeping in recent years, and for good reason.
From 2010 to 2012, the use of electronic record keeping systems tripled in US hospitals, with more than four in ten hospitals now using some form of electronic record keeping. Those numbers are expected to continue on the upswing in the coming years. For hospitals and other healthcare providers, the use of electronic record keeping simplifies what can be a very tedious, time-consuming process. Each individual patient generally has an extensive record of the care they have received throughout their life, and being aware of relevant health risks and previous treatments can be vital in treating patients successfully. With electronic health records, healthcare facilities are also able to quickly exchange important information with other professionals, which can be beneficial to patient health in the long run.
Some of the factors in the adaption of the healthcare industry to electronic record keeping come from external forces, just ask someone with their online rn to bsn degree. As society in general moves more and more toward technology-based living, it is only natural for an industry as large as healthcare to follow suit. Aside from that, federal funding has been made available to offset the considerable costs of implementing electronic record keeping. Not only are the systems themselves expensive, but IT professionals need to be hired to deal with any issues, and employees need training to effectively use the technology. In the future, the incentives from the government will be dual-edged – healthcare facilities can receive funding for the implementation of electronic record keeping systems, but may also face penalties if they fail to adapt the technology.
While the installation and use of electronic record keeping systems is dramatically on the rise, experts caution that it will take time for the fruits of its use to become fully realized. Though the potential for improved patient safety and reduced healthcare costs are major selling-points for electronic record keeping, even the hospitals which have already adapted often still have a long way to go before fully integrating the use of the technology in an optimal manner. This is nothing to be alarmed about, as technological innovation is never a smooth, straightforward process.
In the future, there is much hope that electronic record keeping will lead to better healthcare service, improved patient safety, and lower healthcare costs, as promised. With strong government incentives to adapt, and the need to keep up with the pace of society in general, it is expected that the use of electronic record keeping will only continue to grow.