The use of electronic patient records, or EPRs, the electronic patient chart within a primary care physician’s office, is increasing and will soon become part of the evolving electronic health record (EHR).

Together, they offer the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and quality of patient care in Canada, while reducing unnecessary costs and administrative overhead.

With a combination of EPRs and EHRs, primary care physicians are making strides toward the adoption of a paperless medical record environment, a scenario that will benefit both the providers of care and their patients.

Unfortunately, a reluctance to change the way they handle medical records is causing some health care providers to overlook the potential benefits of electronic records. It’s a decision that directly impacts the care Canadians are receiving.

Of course, that’s not to say physicians practising without an EPR system are mismanaging patient data, but it does mean they are not getting the most out of the health information being collected.

For example, patients belonging to a physician group may not necessarily have their patient records shared among all physicians, even though the physicians and their associated health care practitioners within the group have responsibility for the same patient.

With an influx of younger and increasingly tech-savvy physicians into the health care profession comes more opportunity for wide-scale adoption of e-health records. However, even if we do reach a complete digital environment, EHR systems alone will not provide all the potential benefits available to Canada’s physicians and, ultimately, patients.

These systems will capture the encounters of each episode of care, enhance the sharing of patient information and offer the

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