Digitizing Patient Records: Pros and Cons

Subject: Health IT
Pages: 2
Words: 334
Reading time:
2 min

The safekeeping of medical records entails the task of compiling, storing, typing, and retrieving patients’ data in health institutions. Data is documented from different sources for the purpose of facilitating ongoing medication to various patients. Patients’ data is not only important in supporting sustainable medication; it also facilitates proper health management, clinical research, teaching, reimbursement, and meeting legal requirements. Documentation of patients’ data and its retrieval should be efficient in order to ensure professional, quality, and timely healthcare is provided to patients.

Manual keeping of records from diverse sources is cumbersome and time-consuming. Access to patients’ data is particularly difficult, complicating personalized therapeutic interventions. Confidentiality of patients’ medical information is highly regarded in the medical profession. Universal access to health profiles and patients’ data is unethical and non-professional. Medical record keeping promotes the physical security of databases if appropriate security systems are used. Privacy concerns originate from the fear of unlimited access to health profiles by organizations and entities interested in knowing the health status of an individual. These concerns are valid in view of unwarranted access to patients’ data without prior consent being sought in most health institutions.

However, the need for electronic and computerized medical record-keeping could not be overemphasized. An electronic medical record not only improves timely documentation of patients’ data but also facilitates access by relevant physicians for purposes of monitoring drug interactions and other therapeutic interventions appropriately. However, the task of entering data and subsequent analysis of patients’ information could shift the burden from clerical workers to physicians. This would mean that doctors attend to fewer patients than before, which also reduces the quality of patient care. In addition, physicians required further computer training in order to sharpen their typing and data entry skills coupled with their consultancy work. The presence of desktop computers in doctors’ consultation rooms creates a barrier between physicians and patients. The important patient-physician relationship may be seriously distracted when physicians record patients’ data electronically.