Electronic Health Records vs. Paper-Based Health Records
To compare paper-based health records and electronic health records (EHR’s), the term “health records” must be defined. Per Sayles (2013), “The health record is the principle repository (storage place) for data and information about the healthcare services provided to an individual patient” (p.32). She emphasized that the paper-based health record is basically a collection of this data and information, in paper file folders. The EHR is an electronic version of this data and information that can be accessed on a computer by multiple users.
The availability, currency, cost savings and security of the EHR’s are just a few areas where the paper-based health record lacks. The usefulness of the EHR far supercedes the paper-based health record.
First of all, it is important that all health records be readily available. With so many people needing the information quickly, it has become an issue. Sayles (2013) states “the average health record is needed by approximately one hundred and fifty end users” (p.
128). She stated so many people need access to the information in the health record, and with paper-based health records only being able to be viewed or accessed by one person at a time, it makes them very unavailable. So, the best way to provide availability of the health record is to go electronic. Per Sayles (2013), “it will provide the exchange of healthcare data across providers within and outside a care setting to support continuity of care” (p. 129). She emphasized that the EHR is much more available to many users in many areas versus having to wait for the paper-based health record to be so. Consequently, if a paper-based health record is not available to look at, review or keep current, vital information could be missed.
Secondly, the information in all health records needs to stay current. If vital information is not notated in the health record, it could have a detrimental effect on the patient….
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