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What Is an EMR Specialist?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An electronic medical records (EMR) specialist refers to a person responsible for updating and organizing patient medical records into digital formats. He or she converts doctors’ notes and other information into electronic form each time a patient seeks medical attention. An EMR specialist might transfer paper medical records into computerized files by including a patient’s medical history, payment history, insurance information, treatments, and drugs prescribed, along with any other medical data deemed pertinent.

Work done by an EMR specialist improves patient access to his or her medical records via the Internet. Laboratory reports and test results can be scanned and become part of the patient’s complete medical history. Software programs used by EMR specialists typically permit only designated people to amend or add information to the electronic charts.

As hospitals, clinics, and physicians have moved away from paper medical records, the demand for EMR specialists has grown. Using technology that makes record-keeping less unwieldy, some doctors and clinics choose to convert paper records to digital form. This reduces the need for large storage areas and complex filing systems to access medical records.

Information organized by an EMR specialist might also be accessed by doctors when they are away from their offices. Remote access to information while visiting a patient in a hospital, or consulting with a specialist, allows physicians to view laboratory results and determine treatment. This feature is considered a valuable tool when treating patients outside the office.

When digital record storage in the medical community first emerged, some specialists, such as neurologists, found templates lacking for their specific field of medicine. In some areas, doctors joined together to customize templates to make them cost effective and more specific. EMR specialists working in their offices could easily enter and categorize information dealing with that particular specialty as the process became refined.

Electronic records prove useful for medical researchers studying a certain disease or disorder. In the past, scientists had to mine data from individual patient records to acquire enough people with similar symptoms to make research statistically relevant. With advances in technology and data compiled by EMR specialists, researchers can identify multiple patients with a certain disease using software designed for that purpose. Privacy laws in most areas require patient consent before the electronic medical information can be used.

An EMR specialist commonly refers to the person working in a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office, but it might also describe someone working at private information technology firms. The title can refer to an employee who designs and tests software used in the medical industry according to the needs of clients. Most people working in these positions have a background in medicine to help them understand important criteria for digital medical records.

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