Electronic health record (EHR) vendors are companies that provide the ability to collect and maintain patient information in a digital format that can be shared with ease among any or all of the healthcare professionals currently offering services to a specific patient. This approach to maintaining healthcare records means that general practitioners, specialists, surgeons, and even dentists can have access to the overall health record of the patient, assuming he or she grants permission for that healthcare professional to have access. There are a number of reliable EHR vendors offering systems and support of this nature to hospitals, doctor’s offices and other healthcare organizations.
A number of benefits are associated with the use of services provided by EHR vendors. One has to do with the fact that the digital information is often housed off-site and is accessed with authorization credentials. This means that in the event of some sort of catastrophic event such as a flood or earthquake, the records remain intact and can be accessed by anyone who has the proper credentials. The fact that the hard copies and even the patient data stored on local hard drives at hospitals or doctor’s offices may be too damaged to work with is less of an issue when the information is also stored remotely with one or more EHR vendors.
Along with providing a valuable service in the event of a disaster situation, EHR vendors also make it easier to access data that may be needed to treat a patient who is far from home. For example, if the individual should require hospitalization while on a vacation, the ability of the attending physician to obtain permission to access pre-existing health records in order to more effectively care for the patient can make a huge difference. When contrasted with having to wait for information to be faxed or sent by a courier service, the savings in time can make a significant difference in the ability of the physician to effectively care for the patient.
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As with most types of electronic services, the remote storage as well as the software programs offered by different EHR vendors will vary in terms of features and cost. For this reason, evaluating different options and choosing the best one for a given healthcare provider is very important. Issues such as capacity, security protocols and the ability for several healthcare professionals to access the saved data simultaneously can often be key to selecting the right system and aid in protecting the privacy of the patient.