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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on September 6th, 2016

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Why an EHR System Beats Paper-Based Systems Every Time

Electronic Health Records

Is your practice still using a paper-based records system? Have you wondered if the benefits of implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system are worth the hassles of converting your files to digital format? This article provides a fact-based comparison of paper-based systems and EHR patient files management.

5 Fact-based Comparisons: Here's Why an EHR is Superior To Paper-Based Systems

#1. Thousands of tons of paper create storage and environmental challenges.

Every patient visit generates 10-13 pieces of paper. Even a small rural practice can easily log 2000 visits per month. That's more than 24,000 documents per year that someone has to file. And when you need to share files with specialists and insurance companies, the spend goes up in the form of payroll dollars, office supplies, and lost productivity. Compare that process to a digital format that only requires a few clicks to send appropriate file copies over the internet. In a matter of seconds, you can share test results, images, and office notes with one person or one thousand.

#2 Reducing avoidable medical errors is the responsible thing to do.

Roughly 4.5 million adverse drug events result in ambulatory visits for care every year, and just slightly more than 10% (400,000) of those office and ER visits lead to in-patient stays. Studies have confirmed that digital file systems with complete patient history and adverse reaction details save lives and prevent prescribing errors, saving the healthcare industry money, and lowering risks for patients.

#3 The decision whether to index, search, and share versus print, copy, and fax is easy. Want to waste time and money, or create an efficient, lean organization?

Paper-based portability is defined as a file that can be retrieved, reviewed, and copied before faxing, mailing, or sending pertinent information via courier to other parties. Cloud-based and network EHR solutions take portability up a notch. Indexed files are easy to search and forward to anyone with an internet connection. And, password protected access ensures no one without authorization can view sensitive record contents. You never have to worry about the wrong employee looking through documents on the fax tray or courier-delivered files landing in the wrong inbox.

#4 Convenience, accuracy, and flexibility relieve stress for physicians and their patients.

Doctors who use modern EHR systems have access to patient files from anywhere using approved devices such as bedside kiosk, laptops, iPads, tablets, and smartphones. Unlike physicians who use paper-based systems, there's no need to go to the office to review patient files before refilling a prescription or approving an admission.

#5 Do your paper records support medical research and development or stymie the processes?

Incomplete records often mean tests must be repeated unnecessarily, and hand-written chart notes are hard to read. Over time, building a comprehensive digital patient file will eliminate errors associated with poor hand-writing and reduce duplicate testing. Extensive patient histories also support research and longitudinal studies, giving providers around the globe access to science-based decision-making tools and resources.


Paper-based patient record systems served the medical industry well for many decades. However, the time has come to embrace modern technology. Best-in-class EHR systems empower physicians and patients to tackle the escalating costs of healthcare and improve quality of care. Here are the key reasons digital health records always beat traditional paper-based systems management strategies.


  • Save time and money
  • Make sharing records a simple process and not a labor-intensive chore
  • Are accessible from anywhere there is an internet connection
  • Expedite after-hours event resolution
  • Provide valuable data for researchers and pharmaceutical developers


About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.