Moving to the Electronic Health Record – Health System Example

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"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.  

References

Allan, J. (2000). Patient Centered Documentation: An Effective and Efficient Use of Clinical

Information Systems. Journal of Nursing Administration, 30(2), 90-95.

Tegan, A. et al (2005). The EHR’s Impact on HIM Functions. Journal of AHIMA, 76(5)

Wellen, D., Bouchard B. & Houston, D. (1998). The Electronic Medical Oncology:

Misconceptions, Barriers and Benefits. Cancer Management. Retrieved from http://www.aameda.org/MemberServices/Exec/Articles/ on 24 September 2011

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