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Benefits And The Concerns Of Having Medical Information Electronically Stored In An Internet Database Which Does Not Limit The Use Of Patient Records To A Doctor's Office?

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There are several benefits to having electronically stored medical information including convenience and accessibility, editing, back-up options and security. However - the concerns include risks of security and the potential to be difficult to use or access.

The benefits are:
• Convenience and accessibility. If the patient records are stored electronically, then this information can be made readily available, conveniently accessed and easy to transfer. The ease of access for doctors to log on to their computers and review patient records means that the entire process could be made easier and somewhat quicker. In addition to that, if records can be electronically transferred then it makes for stronger communication between doctors from different geographical and disciplinary areas.
• Editing. Whenever something needs to be added or changed on patient records, this is made much easier if the records are available electronically. Computers have features like word processing software that makes for seamless editing.
• Backing up and security. Electronic patient records can be stored on a variety of different storage devices like external hard drives and USB pen drives. This means that several copies can be made and kept off-site in a safe place in the event of the original copy being damaged. Furthermore, these copies can be locked away and password protected for added security.

The concerns are:
• Security risks. Although in most cases the security is improved on electronically stored patient records, there could me potential complications. For example, any sort of unauthorized access could result in problems if they are then sent out from the official computers then patient confidentiality has been compromised.
• Difficulty to use. There is the possibility that not all people are as computer literate as some. This could result in electronic patient records being difficult for some people to interact with in comparison to the manual methods.   

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