Electronic medical record (EMR) systems help facilitate proper patient record-keeping within the healthcare industry. These systems manage digital patient records by consolidating data such as immunisations, allergies, health concerns, goals, assessments, procedures, and treatment plans into a patient record that can then be shared with the patient or other healthcare facilities. According to leading data and analytics company GlobalData, there are currently over 600 EMR system companies globally, with the EMR systems market forecasted to grow at a 7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) and reach a value of $54.9bn by 2028. In GlobalData’s latest report, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems – Thematic Intelligence, EMR systems are described as vital tools for healthcare processes and communication among medical professionals, healthcare providers, and patients in today’s increasingly digital age.

EMR systems continue to be widely adopted by medical facilities as they improve the organisation and accessibility of patient data and help to fast-track medical administrative tasks through direct integration with billing software, but facilities have yet to see all the promised benefits. Despite over 90% adoption of EMR systems among medical facilities in the US, the ability to share EMR patient data with hospitals or physician offices that use other EMR platforms is still a major challenge. Due to a lack of standardisation, there is a diverse range of data formats that are used to store patient data. This diversity enables each medical practice to use a system and provider that can meet their specific needs, expectations, and budget constraints; however, it also leads to difficulties in sharing patient files between facilities with different EMR systems. This is especially true for specialists, who may have different EMR requirements compared to general physicians. Data transfers between incompatible systems can result in incomplete or corrupted data, which poses a significant health issue. Insufficient connectivity between EMR systems is also frustrating for healthcare workers and patients. Oftentimes, care providers need to retake a patient’s history upon arrival, despite their full history being previously recorded at another facility. This can result in missed information, longer patient visits, an increased burden on healthcare workers, and ultimately undermine the benefits of having digitally accessible and sharable records.

As a result of the epidemic, there was significant growth in remote patient monitoring and telehealth solutions, both primarily data-driven sectors. This has presented a unique opportunity for EMR system providers to incorporate new volumes of patient-generated data into their records, but it further increases the need for data compatibility and accessibility solutions. To overcome these challenges, manufacturers are working to standardise data and develop extraction software to convert between existing formats while regulatory bodies also play a role in setting data compatibility standards. These changes could allow medical facilities to finally leverage the full advantages of EMR systems.