Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is the new way of storing patient information in order that relevant healthcare services and professionals can access patient information quickly and effectively. The technology for their provision has existed for a number of years, though the roll out on a global scale has been slow.
That said though, at a local level an EMR is used by most healthcare professionals; with personal physicians for example. The benefits they offer are significant, allowing for accurate records to be accessed at any time, allowing for better diagnosis, prognosis and decisions over care.
However, there are issues. Electronic records with personal and confidential information have to be managed carefully, and allow updates to be performed only by registered individuals. The risk of them being accessed by unauthorized persons is real, and due to the information held within them, many raise concerns.
It is this, above all else, that has affected a roll out of electronic records on country wide levels in the States and across Europe. Data protection is a very real and important concern. As such, managing them at a local level within enclosed systems including secure access has been the way forward.
As technology advances however, and more investment is put in to the protection of data it is likely that a national database will be provided in time. This again is a stumbling point however, as the sheer cost involved of synergizing data, protecting it and giving staff relevant access and training is high.
The existence of an EMR where healthcare professionals and providers can talk to each other and share valuable information is a sensible step. Managing it is not easy though. With coherent conversation and decisions though, there is no reason why it will not serve the greater good rather than be something that the evil minority can exploit.
Prime Clinical Systems (http://www.primeclinical.com/) designs and installs EMR systems that are easy to use and easily customized to the individual EMR requirements of individual medical practices and professionals.