Paper Health Records and Electronic Records Comparison

Compare traditional paper health records to electronic records. What can one do that the other cannot? Some of the formats of electronic data include spreadsheets and databases. What are some of the trade-offs between using a spreadsheet versus a database to record, analyze, and retrieve data in a health care setting?

The usage of electronic medical records is usually associated with an improved coordination process among healthcare providers due to the real-time availability of data. In comparison with traditional paper records, electronic data storage enables users to easily access information about the patient of concern, efficiently review history and trends over time, and examine the data before seeing a patient (Rathert, Porter, Mittler, & Fleig-Palmer, 2017).

Moreover, physicians and nurses using digital records give credit to ease and confidentiality of information sharing and the ability to enter alerts and reminders (Rathert et al., 2017). However, such innovations are usually associated with a lack of standardization, increased workload, overreliance on technology, and interference with patient relationships.

While there are two formats of electronic data, spreadsheets and databases are used in different situations due to their unique characteristics. Spreadsheets are beneficial for storing and managing comparatively small amounts of numerical data for a short period. While this method of recording, analyzing, and retrieving data is simple and does not require special training as it offers a range of automated functions for information analysis, some data management needs are only met while using databases. Moreover, database usage is associated with the capacity to increase data integrity and the ease of reporting and sharing data.


Rathert, C., Porter, T., Mittler, J., & Fleig-Palmer, M. (2017). Seven years after meaningful use. Health Care Management Review, 1, 1-11. Web.