Electronic Medical Records - Remotely

December 15, 2009
Leslie Moser

There is no escaping EMR in healthcare news these days, and in a few years no one will remember how life was without it.

There is no escaping EMR in healthcare news these days, and in a few years no one will remember how life was without it.

The most important, emerging aspect of EMR is the ability of users to connect to it from anywhere, anytime. Convenience is only part of the reason for this. The more information we integrate into EMR and the more we integrate EMR into everything we call healthcare, the more dependent we become on that data.

There is a growing number of phone apps making this connection easier, as well as speech-to-text and transcribing software to help those who are not quite ready to interact with EMR directly.

And while all that is very well, the simplest way to gain universal access to the information "locked up" in your EMR is through web browsers. They look and work exactly the same way on any operating system and on any computer. Free Wi-Fi access points abound and with 3G wireless you can even connect on the go whether it's from a laptop or a smartphone. Of course, you need a web browser based EMR. Or at the very least, a web browser enabled front end to provide remote access to your data while away from the office.

With such universal access comes the possibility of having your EMR located outside the office. No need for extra, specialized equipment or for a single operating system. If you like Windows, no problem. Prefer a Mac? Ditto. Colleagues addicted to Ubuntu are welcome.

So what if you could rent space on a server with a selection of EMR systems already in place? All you have to do is choose the one you are most comfortable with, pay a data storage fee and be done with it.

Reliable, fast Internet connections are a fact of life today and commercial servers are accessible around the clock. Privacy and security are important concerns but no more complicated than online banking, and who doesn't do that? Upgrades, backups, troubleshooting all happen as if by magic.

You never even have to call the "cable guy," as it were.

Leslie Moser has a background in engineering and computers. He runs emrontheweb.com and its sister site, emrontheweb.ca. for secure online Electronic Medical Records keeping. He can be contacted by email at info@emrontheweb.com or info@emrontheweb.ca or by Twitter @emrotw.