"Moving to the Electronic Health Record" is a perfect example of a paper on the health system. In this technologically driven society, the use of electronic systems of data entry is not only popular but has become a need. In the field of health, management of paper records of health is becoming more and more difficult and there is a dire need to switch to an automated health record system. Implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system enables the organization to have efficient work practices, more productivity, and better organization of patient records, which in turn leads to improvement of the overall administration of Health Information Management (HIM) processes. Electronic Health Record (EHR) system can be defined as an electronic database of patients’ health information including the patients’ demographics, past medical history, medications, allergies, immunizations, and laboratory reports (Allan, 2000). Advantages of EHR There are many advantages associated with the EHR system.
It can reduce prescription errors, data loss, link patients and health care providers, and ease the analysis of a patient’ s medical history, etc. The documentation is constantly updated and is accessible at the same time for use everywhere. The replacement of paper records by EHR has reduced the need for physical space. EHR is a perfect substitute for physicians’ illegible writings which have often resulted in fatal outcomes. Another plus point is that such a system will provide accurate billing information making payments and receipts easier for the patient and the care provider. Security Measures Even though the expenses required to switch to a new system are very high, yet the transition from paper records to an automated system ensures improved and faster patient care. Shifting the physicians from writing medical data on paper to typing on a computer will require proper training and practice and some problems are to be expected in the early phase of transition before the physicians get hold of the newly adopted system. They need to be taught a proper format for entering all the data into, which is reliable, accessible, and easily transferrable. The change needs to be adopted orderly, rather than hurriedly, otherwise it would result in productivity losses rather than any gain. Computer systems should not replace physicians’ significant judgments however, “ a well-designed EHR supports accountable autonomy, collecting and disseminating information to assist the medical professional in decision making” (Wellen, Bouchard & Houston, 1998). After the installation of the system, the priority should be the management of the system. It should be ensured that the system is free of technical and other faults and that it runs efficiently. Computer entry backups should be kept in case of a data crash. Impact on HIM Some administrators have declared that in the future the EHR will eradicate the requirement for the HIM department, its services, and functions because the paper record will be gone.
Though the HIM department and its functions are bound to change, it is a fact that the maintenance of EHR and its byproducts would still require the expertise of HIM professionals (Tegan, 2005). Data analysis and reporting have become easier. It also ensures administrative efficiency and effectiveness. But since the work practices are different on an electronic system than on paper, HIM professionals need to be trained accordingly. Conclusion The EHR offers the important infrastructure necessary to facilitate the implementation and effective use of new healthcare modalities and information management tools.
But before the transition, the organization needs to carefully evaluate all the pros and cons of implementing the system and only then make their decision on this important matter.
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Tegan, A. et al (2005). The EHR’s Impact on HIM Functions. Journal of AHIMA, 76(5)
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