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Which Are Primary Functions Of The Electronic Health Record

The advent of technology has revolutionized many sectors, including healthcare. One of the key technological advancements in this sector is the Electronic Health Record (EHR). EHRs have become essential tools for managing patient information and improving healthcare practices. In this blog, we will dive into the eight core functions of EHRs, why they are important, and their impact on healthcare efficiency.


Definition Of Electronic Health Record (EHR)

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. It contains the patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory test results. The data in an EHR is real-time, patient-centered, and can be readily available to authorized users. This comprehensive information helps healthcare providers make more informed decisions about a patient’s care and streamlines administrative processes.

Importance Of EHR In Modern Healthcare

EHRs are crucial in modern healthcare for several reasons. First, they help improve the quality of care by providing accurate, up-to-date patient-related information that helps nurses plan care. Secondly, EHRs facilitate the exchange electronic communication of information between different healthcare providers, promoting efficient and coordinated care. They also play a significant role in clinical research, further improving healthcare practices. Finally, EHRs contribute to administrative efficiency by automating routine tasks such as scheduling appointments and billing.

According to a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) report, EHRs can store a wide range of patient data, including medical history, medication lists, diagnostic results, and treatment plans, making them an essential tool for comprehensive patient care.

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Primary Functions Of Electronic Health Records

1. Patient Health Information Management

One of the primary functions of EHRs is managing health information and data. They replace paper medical records with electronic clinical and demographic information on patients, providing rapid access to patient data like medical history, diagnoses, allergies, medications, and test results. As EHRs can hold more data than paper records, medical histories can be more complete, thus improving care. However, it’s crucial to ensure EHR software has usability with a well-designed user interface to avoid distracting clinicians with extraneous information.

2. Clinical Decision Support

EHRs also provide more clinical data and decision support. They offer healthcare providers crucial insights into potential issues, such as drug interactions or allergies, which may not be immediately apparent. These insights aid in making informed treatment decisions, increasing the quality of patient care. Moreover, EHRs can generate reminders for preventive care measures, further assisting the healthcare team in delivering comprehensive care.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) notes that nearly 96% of non-federal acute care hospitals possess certified EHR technology, fostering interoperability that allows healthcare providers to share patient data securely across different systems and settings.

3. Order Entry And Management

Another core function of EHRs is order entry and management. Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) within an EHR system allows healthcare providers to order lab tests, prescription drugs, radiology, and even consults. This functionality reduces errors associated with handwritten instructions and improves efficiency by eliminating redundant orders. It also allows for faster access to lab results, enabling quicker identification and addressing of abnormal results.

4. Health Information Exchange

Interoperability is a key feature of EHRs. It refers to the ability of two or more EHR systems or components of an EHR system to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. This function is crucial in modern healthcare as it allows healthcare professionals to share patient data, ensuring continuity of care and improved coordination human services among various care providers.

A study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that EHRs provide clinicians with access to evidence-based guidelines, drug interaction alerts, and clinical decision support tools, aiding in more informed and evidence-driven patient care decisions.

5. Reporting And Population Health Management

Last but not least, EHRs play a vital role in reporting, disease management and population health management. They collect, analyze, and report data regarding the quality of care. This function allows healthcare practices to comply with quality-based reimbursement programs and examine data related to their quality of care, making necessary changes if needed. Furthermore, EHRs can help track population health metrics, identifying problem areas quickly, and addressing them promptly, thus improving community health.

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Benefits Of EHR

1) Improved Efficiency And Productivity

EHRs streamline administrative tasks, such as charting and documentation, allowing healthcare providers to spend more time with patients. This can lead to increased patient throughput and reduced wait times.

According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), EHRs offer quick and easy access to patient information, helping healthcare providers retrieve critical data such as lab results, imaging reports, and historical treatment records with reduced administrative burdens.

2) Enhanced Patient Safety

EHRs include built-in clinical decision support systems that help identify potential medication errors, drug interactions, and allergies, reducing the risk of adverse events. They also provide alerts and reminders for preventive care measures, improving overall patient safety.

3) Improved Care Coordination

EHRs facilitate communication and information sharing among different healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care. This ensures that all members of the care team have access to the same up-to-date information, leading to better coordination and continuity of care.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) reports that EHRs facilitate patient engagement by allowing individuals to access their own health records, communicate with providers, schedule appointments, and view lab results online.

4) Cost Savings

By eliminating the need for paper records and reducing administrative tasks, EHRs can lead to cost savings for healthcare organizations. They can also help reduce unnecessary tests and procedures by providing comprehensive patient data, leading to more efficient resource utilization.

5) Enhanced Health And Human Services Through Clinical Research And Population Health Management

EHRs enable the collection and analysis of large amounts of patient data, which can be used for clinical research and population health management purposes. This can help identify trends, patterns, and risk factors, leading to improved public health strategies and targeted interventions.

A survey by the American College of Physicians (ACP) highlights that EHRs enable healthcare organizations to aggregate and analyze large volumes of patient data, supporting population health management, clinical research, and evidence-based quality improvement initiatives.

6) Improved Patient Engagement And Satisfaction

EHRs often include patient portals that allow patients to access their own health information, communicate with their healthcare providers, and participate in their own care. This can lead to increased patient engagement and satisfaction with the healthcare experience.

7) Secure And Accessible Storage Of Health Information

EHRs provide a secure and centralized location for storing and accessing patient health information. This eliminates the risk of lost or misplaced paper records and ensures that patient data is readily available when needed.

Overall, EHRs offer numerous benefits that can improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

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Impact Of EHR On Healthcare Efficiency And Effectiveness

The impact of EHRs on healthcare efficiency and effectiveness is profound. By providing instant access to comprehensive patient information, EHRs enable healthcare providers to make informed clinical decisions, leading to better patient outcomes. Their interoperability facilitates seamless information exchange among various healthcare providers, ensuring coordinated and continuous health care together.

Moreover, EHRs streamline administrative processes, reducing paperwork and saving valuable time that can be dedicated to patient care. They also aid in preventing medical errors by flagging potential issues such as drug interactions or duplicate orders.

Health Care Coordination

Health care providers play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of individuals and communities. They offer various medical services, including inpatient and outpatient procedures, to address the healthcare needs of their patients. To provide efficient and effective care, health care providers rely on the use of electronic health records (EHRs) to transmit clinical data between different providers.

Inpatient procedures refer to medical interventions that require patients to be admitted to a hospital or medical facility for an extended period. These procedures often involve surgeries, complex treatments, or intensive care, where patients need constant monitoring and specialized medical attention. In contrast, outpatient procedures are those that do not require overnight stays and can be completed within a few hours. Examples of outpatient procedures include routine check-ups, vaccinations, and minor surgeries.

Regardless of whether a patient undergoes inpatient or outpatient procedures, it is essential for health care providers to have access to their comprehensive medical history and treatment records.

This is where EHRs play a vital role. EHRs are digital versions of a patient’s medical record that contain information about their health conditions, medications, allergies, lab results, and more. They help providers make informed decisions about patient care by providing a complete view of their medical history.

Transmitting clinical data between health care providers is crucial for ensuring seamless continuity of care. For example, if a patient undergoes an inpatient procedure at one hospital and then requires follow-up care from another provider, the ability to transmit their clinical data electronically is vital. This allows the new provider to access the patient’s previous medical records, ensuring they have accurate and up-to-date information to provide appropriate care.

EHRs enable the secure exchange of clinical data between health care providers, ensuring the information is easily accessible whenever needed. By implementing interoperable systems, providers can easily transmit and receive clinical data, improving care coordination and reducing the risk of errors or duplication of tests. This streamlined communication between providers benefits both patients and health care organizations by improving the overall quality and efficiency of care.

In addition to transmitting clinical data, EHRs also offer various other functionalities that support health care providers in their daily operations. These core EHR functions include electronic prescribing, decision support systems, order management, and results management. Electronic prescribing allows providers to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, reducing medication errors and improving patient safety.

Decision support systems provide evidence-based guidelines and alerts to assist providers in making accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions. Order management helps streamline the ordering of tests, treatments, or consultations, ensuring timely delivery of care. Results management enables providers to access and review test results promptly, allowing for quick interventions if needed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the integration of telehealth with EHRs. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, telehealth visits increased by 154% during the pandemic, emphasizing the need for EHRs to seamlessly incorporate virtual care data into patient records.

Overall, the use of EHRs by health care providers has transformed the way patient information is stored, accessed, and shared. It has enhanced care coordination, improved patient safety, and facilitated more informed decision-making. The ability to transmit clinical data between providers has significantly contributed to the seamless continuity of care, ensuring that patients receive appropriate treatment regardless of where they seek care. As technology continues to advance, it is expected that EHRs will continue to evolve, further enhancing the delivery of healthcare services and improving patient outcomes.

Source- depositphotos.com

Final Note

Overall, electronic health records have revolutionized the healthcare industry by improving efficiency, effectiveness, and patient care. They enable healthcare providers to access comprehensive patient information, make informed decisions, and deliver personalized care.

Additionally, EHRs facilitate communication and coordination among different healthcare providers, leading to better continuity of care. By streamlining administrative processes and reducing errors, EHRs save time and enhance the overall quality of healthcare delivery.

Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Priyanshi Sharma


  • Parina

    Parina Parmar is a full-time dog mom with a knack for content, editing & advertising. She has years of experience in the communication industry, and her dedication to maintaining the integrity of the author's voice while ensuring clarity and coherence in the text sets her apart in her field. She is dedicated to immersing her love for culture, music, and the advertising industry in her works.


    • Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication
    • Specialization in SEO, Editing, Digital Strategy, Content Writing & Video Strategy


    • Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication
    • Diploma in Fashion Desgining
    • Performance Marketing by Young Urban Project

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