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What are Computerized Medical Records?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 16, 2024
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Computerized medical records are the digital counterparts to patient medical records kept in paper files and folders in health care offices. They are, in essence, an electronic version of the same medical records. In many cases, when a health care practitioner wants to invest in computerized records, paper medical records are simply scanned and entered into a medical records system.

Instead of documenting patient information on paper and creating a need for filing and extra space, electronic medical records are stored on a computer server. In contrast to their traditional counterparts, computerized medical records can be accessed quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need for employees to physically look for the records in an office. This, in turn, saves medical practices money, since employees are no longer expected to lose time while retrieving records. Searching for and recovering medical records is as simple as typing on a keyboard and clicking buttons on a mouse.

For professionals, the benefits of using computerized medical records are numerous. In addition to helping save time and money, digital records aid doctors to better serve the patient, as patients no longer have to wait unnecessarily while an employee searches for files. Records can be cross-filed and cross-referenced according to any number of factors. Digital records can instantly expand an office and provide a more secure location for storage of files which, when physical, are only guarded with locks.

There are also a number of personal advantages that patients may experience should their health care providers implement computerized medical record keeping. For example, digital medical records are easily accessible during emergencies. Records can be quickly updated for patients who have serious, progressive or chronic illnesses. People with digital records do not have to worry about unsecure storage facilities or the loss of records through theft, accident or natural disasters. Patients may also be able to choose who can access their files and for what purposes.

While computerized medical records may be referred to as individual "files" or "folders," the goal and the actual purpose of using this method is to have a resource devoted to storing complete and accurate information about a patient. In theory, each patient has his complete history on file in a sophisticated and secure computerized medical record system. All types of health care workers would have access to the same patient records, thereby making their jobs easier and their patients more likely to undergo proper treatment.

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Discussion Comments

By whiteplane — On Apr 24, 2012

I was in the hospital about two months ago and all of the doctors and nurses carried tablet computers. I had a paper chart, but as far as I know all of the data they were entering was going into a computer as well.

I guess I am wondering how widespread electronic medical records already are?

By ZsaZsa56 — On Apr 23, 2012

I have heard a lot of talk about the advantages of computerized medical records. But I think that some of the talk is overblown. Sure it will increase efficiency and reduce a lot of headaches, but does anyone really believe that electronic records alone will drastically lower health care costs? I don't think so.

The simple truth is that the benefits of electronic medical records are real, but these benefits are only a single part of what we need to do to refurbish health care in this country. It will take new ways of thinking in every area of the health care industry.

By summing — On Apr 23, 2012

I hope that one day in this country we have a nationwide electronic medical record system. I really can't believe we don't have one already. Think of all the information that has gone digital and yet medical records still exist largely on paper.

Electronic medical records could go a long way towards reducing health care costs. The efficiency that electronic records facilitate could create huge cost savings. They could also lead to better outcomes. If a doctor has access to a patients full medical history on demand they can offer treatment in a more intelligent and effective way.

By anon109044 — On Sep 05, 2010

Computerized medical records make updating and retrieving patient information easier and quicker.

This method saves time and money for both doctor and the staff.

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