Use of Electronic Health Records in the U.S. Hospitals – Health System Example

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"Use of Electronic Health Records in the U. S. Hospitals" is an outstanding example of a paper on the health system. The article discusses the efforts of the US government to adopt electronic records in the healthcare industry and the relative reluctance of physicians and other healthcare services providers to adapt to the change. Essentially, this article also highlights how healthcare services providers who have been practicing for years are shy of adapting to the new way of storing patient information despite the fact that government offers incentives to make a transition towards electronic records.

There have been policy initiatives too under which the government has actually undertaken to systematically increase the adoption of electronic health records by doctors. The government has put forward both the incentives as well as penalties for doctors adapting to the use of electronic health records for the patients in their hospitals. There is a clear recognition of the fact that electronic records are the future of the industry and many healthcare service providers clearly see the industry moving towards these trends. However, there are certain factors that actually restrict physicians from adopting these new changes.

Many see it as a cumbersome process to actually digitalize the data of patients that they have accumulated over the period of their practice. They feel more comfortable with the data on paper which has been collected for years and form the essential part of the overall patient history and records with the doctor. However, this may not be the case as the doctors may find it relatively easier to work with the digital records as compared to the records generated and stored manually.

(Ball M & Bakalar, 2006) The author has further discussed that security is one of the key concerns for the doctors as many believe that though adoption may be easier, however, it could cost more if patients’ records are stolen or misused. This assertion, to some extent, maybe right, however, given the advancement in technology, the overall chances of such intrusion into the healthcare records may below. (Huston, 2001).   Doctors and other healthcare providers are wary of paying extra insurance costs for maintaining the security of their records while on the other hand are also fearful about legal costs and times which may be expensed as a result of suits by the patients. The lack of adoption of the technology is also due to the lack of skills and technological know-how of the doctors.

The author has suggested that many doctors actually are not adapting to this new technological change because of their inability to deal with the new technologies. With many other responsibilities that are core to their duty, learning to use new software for electronic data storage and retrieval may be a cumbersome and difficult job for doctors.

This may also be one of the reasons why doctors are not finding it interesting to make a change. It is, however, important to note that through training and development at the individual and hospital-level doctors can improve their expertise to use the new systems. (Jha, et al. , 2009) New and young doctors are more willing to use these electronic health records as compared to their seniors.

References

Ball M, S., & Bakalar, C. (2006). Personal Health Records: Empowering Consumers. Journal of Healthcare Information Management, 21(1), 76–86.

Jha, A. K., DesRoches, C., Campbell, E., Donelan, K., Rao, S., Ferris, T., et al. (2009). Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals. The New England Journal of Medicine, 360, 1628-1638.

T, H. (2001). Security issues for implementation of e-medical records. Communications of the ACM, 44(9), 89–94.

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