The Pros and Cons of Online Medical Records


As technology advances, the healthcare industry is moving towards electronic medical records (EMRs) which can be easily stored and accessed online. Digital records can improve providers’ efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance patients’ experiences. This article explores the benefits and drawbacks of online medical records.

By using MyAARPMedicare, AARP Medicare Plan members can have a centralized hub for managing their healthcare plan, accessing important information, and making informed decisions about their health. It aims to simplify the Medicare experience and provide tools to enhance your overall healthcare journey.

Advantages of Storing Medical Records Online

  • Improved accuracy and completeness

Paper medical records can be difficult to read, illegible, or incomplete, resulting in medical errors. Online medical records are multiple, complete, and legible. Electronic records have built-in alerts to remind healthcare staff of follow-up tests and referrals, reducing the chance of human error.

  • Increased availability and accessibility

It can be accessed by providers anytime, anywhere, as long as they have a device with internet connectivity. Patient portal is not restricted to specific locations or storage centers, allowing authorized staff at different facilities and departments to exchange and share information in a timely and coordinated way. This enables providers to make better informed decisions, leading to improved quality of care.

  • Enhanced patient safety

It promotes patient safety by reducing medication errors, adverse drug interactions, or missed test results. It can provide alerts when a medication needs to be prescribed based on a patient’s health history, allergies, or other medications. This ensures that patients receive the appropriate treatment based on their individual medical profile, reducing the likelihood of medical harm and improving patient safety.

  • Increased efficiency

It can save time and resources, as they can be accessed quickly and easily by AARP healthcare providers. This enables providers to spend more time with patients and less time on record-keeping. Electronic records also eliminate the need for paper files, reducing storage and maintenance costs.

Disadvantages of Online Medical Records

  • Potential data breaches and security concerns

Online medical records have a higher risk of data breaches and identity theft if they are not well-protected by privacy laws, firewalls, password protections, or encryption. Patient portal contain personally identifiable information and sensitive information of medical treatments that should not be disclosed or shared with unauthorized parties. Cybersecurity measures should be deployed and practiced to protect the EHRs and patient portal against cyberattacks.

  • Interoperability issues

Interoperability problems arise when different records and devices can’t easily communicate with each other, posing obstacles to the medical treatments of the patient. For example, two different healthcare providers might be using different records or different versions of the same Online Medical Records, making it difficult to share patient data smoothly. Interoperability issues can result in duplicate tests, longer wait times, and errors.

  • Cost constraints and implementation challenges

The shift towards online medical records requires significant investments in technology, training, maintenance, and upgrades. This can be expensive, potentially limiting retention of AARP healthcare providers. In addition, proper implementation of online medical records can take time, especially if providers have to simultaneously train and care for patients.

  • Digital divide and inequality

Not all patients have access to the internet or the technology required to access online medical records. Additionally, not all AARP healthcare providers have the necessary digital skills to manage electronic records. This could result in a digital divide that could prevent certain medical treatments for patients from getting access to quality care or hinder providers from adopting EMRs.


Online medical records are essential for the effective and efficient delivery of healthcare in the digital age. However, the shift towards digital records will require providers and government regulators to protect patient privacy and ensure data security. Stakeholders must also navigate interoperability challenges, tackle barriers to access from cost to technology issues, and ensure that vulnerable and disadvantaged populations do not fall behind in the transition to digital healthcare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are online medical records?
Online medical records, also known as electronic health records (EHRs), are digital versions of a patient’s medical history, including diagnoses, treatments, medications, lab results, and more.

How are online medical records accessed?
Healthcare providers can access online medical records through secure online portals or EHR systems using authorized credentials, typically via web-based platforms or mobile applications.

Are online medical records secure?
Yes, it can employ robust security measures like encryption, firewalls, and strict access controls to protect patient data from unauthorized access. It is important for healthcare organizations to prioritize data security to ensure patient privacy.

Can patients access their own online medical records?
Yes, it can promote patient engagement and empowerment. Many providers offer patient portals or apps that allow individuals to access their own health information.

How do online medical records improve healthcare coordination?
It can enable seamless communication and collaboration between healthcare providers. With instant access to patient information, healthcare professionals can coordinate care more effectively.

Are there interoperability challenges with online medical records?
Yes, interoperability remains a challenge in the healthcare industry. Different healthcare systems may use diverse technologies and databases, making it difficult to seamlessly share information between providers.

What are the benefits of online medical records for patients?
It can enhance patient engagement and empowerment by providing easy access to health information. Patients can view their test results, track their progress and communicate with medical providers.

How do online medical records improve patient safety?
It can reduce the chances of medication errors, adverse drug interactions, or missed tests or results. EHRs provide alerts and reminders based on a patient’s health history, allergies, or medications and improving overall patient safety.

Are there any disadvantages to online records?
Online records may face challenges related to data security breaches, interoperability issues, and implementation costs. Additionally, not all patients have equal access to technology or possess digital literacy skills.

How can medical providers ensure the successful implementation of online medical records?
Medical providers can ensure successful implementation by conducting thorough security risk assessments, implementing and regularly updating security measures, training staff on the proper use and protection of online records.

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