Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are digitized “paper charts” that record a patient’s entire medical and treatment history. They allow physicians to efficiently store and access a patient’s record from a computer server or the Internet. EMRs can also help physicians reduce costs and save time, among other benefits.

However, what most people don’t realize is that EMRs are also extremely beneficial to patients.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Reduce paperwork. When patients go to see a new physician, they have to fill out patient forms, which all ask same questions and can be quite lengthy. With EMRs, the information written on forms will be stored in a patient’s record, meaning patients do not have to fill out as many forms the following times they go to the doctor’s office.

Reduce repeated tests and procedures. Medical tests can be costly, uncomfortable, or even pose some health risks. Therefore, having to repeat tests for a different physician who can’t access your old results can be frustrating. With EMRs, patient lab tests will be stored in one location, allowing all care providers to have easy access to the test results.

Sharing information between care providers. All of a patient’s care providers can share the same patient information, history, and treatment reported in the EMR. Instead of various physicians separately treating a patient, with EMRs physicians can share the same up-to-date patient information, which helps prevent medical mistakes and improves patient care.

Avoid prescription interactions. If a patient has multiple health care physicians, the drugs each physician prescribes may harmfully interact. An EMR system can warm a patient’s physicians of any drug interactions prior to prescribing them. This type of system can also record previous drug prescriptions.

Accessing your own EMR. Some EMR systems are capable of allowing patients to log in and access their own health information online. This allows patients to identify and correct wrong information, see their medical history, track their current treatment, and get medication prescriptions, without having to make extra calls or trips to their care facility.

Read our page on how EMR systems can benefit physicians

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