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How EMR is essential in navigating a healthcare crisis

The Health Industry

Why Electronic Medical Records are the secret to future-ready healthcare.

Read part 1 – Why Electronic Medical Records are the secret to future-ready healthcare.

In one of the most extensive COVID-19 risk analyses done in the world, the Deep Knowledge Group looked at 130 indicators to determine what level of exposure different countries faced during the pandemic.

Peppered amongst the risk-reducing indicators were multiple assessments of digital health capacity –

2.3.7 – Does the region utilise electronic health records?
3.2.3 – Does the region use online diagnostic tools?
3.6.6 – Does the Ministry of Health provide data on confirmed COVID-19 cases, critical cases and deaths on a daily basis?

Australia and New Zealand ranked 8th and 9th respectively – we sit among the top ten safest countries in the world during this global health emergency. But this significant result was achieved despite our low-level digital health capabilities. The policymakers and frontline workers in our countries are fighting COVID-19 blind, without the essential tools provided by a high-level Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.

Nationally consistent and high-level EMRs provide real-time aggregated data that support better decision-making. In a health crisis, this is important at a national level as it can inform policy-makers swiftly of cluster development and offer rapid insight into whether treatment methods are proving effective or ineffective. At an individual hospital level, EMR is equally vital in emergencies, allowing for secure communication, instantaneous all-staff updates, and streamlined testing procedures.

A 2015 report compared how advanced countries were in their use of EMR by applying Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model (EMRAM) scores. The EMRAM method breaks the adoption of EMR up into seven stages, with Stage 7 representing advanced and holistic use. The analysis revealed that the vast majority of hospitals in Australia and New Zealand have only low-level EMR usage – sitting at Stage 3 of adoption or below. While some progress has been made in the years since the report was authored, it has not been widespread.

The threat of COVID-19 is still live. On June 20, the World Health Organisation said we were entering a “new and dangerous” phase of the pandemic, while local leaders continue to warn of a possible second wave. Experts are also predicting that the rate of pandemic occurrence will increase – with another global emergency likely within decades, not centuries.

Australia and New Zealand have been heroes and examples to be followed during the Coronavirus crisis. But our chances of replicating these results in future emergencies is only strengthened if we choose to embrace EMR today.

Ergotron is a leader in supplying EMR-ready and enabling equipment in Australia and New Zealand. Contact your Healthcare Specialist today at Ergotron to discuss how we can help you benefit from digital transformation.

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