How To Make The Switch From Paper To Electronic Health Records?



Shifting from paper to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) can seem daunting, especially for healthcare organisations that have been using paper records for decades. However, the benefits of switching to EHRs far outweigh the challenges.

Here we will explore the benefits of using EHRs, the difference between EHRs and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), and the steps healthcare organisations can take to switch from paper to electronic health records.

The Pain Point: The Inefficiency Of Paper Health Records

For many healthcare organiSations, paper health records have been the norm for a long time. However, there are several pain points associated with using paper records, including:

  • Inability to access records remotely: With paper records, it is often difficult for healthcare providers to access a patient’s health information when they are not physically at the facility where the records are stored. It can lead to delays in treatment and a lack of continuity of care.
  • Difficulty tracking and updating records: Keeping track of paper records can be time-consuming and error-prone. It is easy for records to get lost or for information to be recorded incorrectly.
  • High storage costs: Storing paper records requires significant physical space and can be costly.
  • Risk of data breaches: Paper records are vulnerable to being lost, stolen, or damaged, which can result in data breaches and compromise the privacy of patient information.

The Solution: Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

EHRs offer several benefits over paper records, including:

  • Improved accessibility: EHRs can be accessed remotely so that healthcare providers can view patients’ health information anywhere with an internet connection. It can be especially beneficial when a patient receives care from multiple providers.
  • Enhanced record-keeping: EHRs allow for more accurate and up-to-date record-keeping. Information can be entered into the system in real time, and changes to the record are immediately reflected. In some cases, health card is linked to EHRs, which allow healthcare providers to access a patient’s medical history and information securely and efficiently.
  • Reduced storage costs: EHRs eliminate the need for physical storage space and the associated costs.
  • Increased data security: EHRs are stored electronically, meaning they are less vulnerable to being lost, stolen, or damaged. In addition, EHRs have built-in security measures to protect against data breaches.

The Difference Between EHRs And EMRs

You must remember that there is a difference between EHRs and EMRs. EMRs are digital versions of a patient’s medical record used by a single healthcare provider or organisation. EHRs, on the other hand, are more comprehensive and can be accessed and updated by multiple healthcare providers. Additionally, health cards are physical cards issued to individuals to give them access to healthcare services.

For example, if a patient visits a primary care physician, that physician might enter the patient’s medical information into an EMR. If the patient is referred to a specialist, the specialist can access the patient’s EHR, which includes the data from the EMR and any other relevant medical information. 

Steps To Make The Switch From Paper Records To EHR

Making the switch from paper to EHRs requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some steps that healthcare organisations can follow to make the transition smooth:

  1. Assess your current system: Before moving to EHRs, you need to understand your current system and its use. This includes assessing the current state of your paper records, how they are stored and accessed, and any existing technological infrastructure.
  2. Determine your goals: It is essential to determine your goals for implementing EHRs. Do you want to improve patient care? Streamline record-keeping? Reduce storage costs? You can decide which EHR system will best meet your goals by identifying your objectives.
  3. Choose an EHR system: There are many EHR systems on the market, and it is essential to choose one that meets your needs and budget. Consider factors such as the system’s capabilities, user-friendliness, and integration with other systems.
  4. Train your staff: Once you have chosen an EHR system, it is vital to provide training to ensure they are comfortable using it. It may include providing hands-on training, ongoing support, and resources for your team.
  5. Develop a plan for data migration: If you are switching from paper records to EHRs, you will need to migrate your data into the new system. This process can be time-consuming and requires careful planning to ensure that all data is transferred accurately.
  6. Implement and test the system: Once you have completed the steps above, it is time to implement your EHR system. It may involve rolling out the system to different departments or facilities in stages. Testing the system to ensure it functions correctly and meets your needs is also essential.
  7. Monitor and evaluate the system: After implementing your EHR system, it is essential to monitor and assess its performance regularly. It includes tracking any issues or challenges that arise and identifying opportunities for improvement.


Making the switch from paper to EHRs can be complex, but it is worth it in the long run. EHRs offer numerous benefits, including improved accessibility, enhanced record-keeping, reduced storage costs, and increased data security. In addition, by carefully planning and implementing an EHR system, healthcare organisations can streamline their operations and improve patient care.

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