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Electronic Health Records - Research Paper Example

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EHRs: Standardization and Interoperability Introduction Statistics have shown that the United States have the most expensive health care cost among other countries, but not necessarily providing the utmost quality care to patients. Considering also the present modernization of the world, technology is playing a huge part in almost every field possible, including health care…
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Electronic Health Records
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Electronic Health Records

EHRs, Pros, Cons In a document from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the benefits of adopting the use of HIT in both public and private institutions were presented, as well as the goals, vision, and changes in the system once health care delivery would integrate the use of such innovations. In 2004, former US president Bush “called for a widespread adoption of interoperable EHRs within 10 years,” and the established position of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology was tasked to develop and implement a “strategic plan” that would guide the implementation of HIT nationally in both public and private sectors (HSS 1). From here we see that such advancements in technology are supported by the federal government, and imply that they may have more advantages than disadvantages. In a publication by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), they adopt the Health Information Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) definition of EHR where, “The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports. The EHR automates and streamlines the clinician’s workflow. The EHR has the ability to generate a complete record of a clinical patient encounter, as well as supporting other care-related activities directly or indirectly via interface - including evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.” (1) The pen and paper system adopted in health care institutions have been blamed more than many times in errors that occur in health care delivery. In the development of EHRs, these mistakes are perceived to lessen because they say that electronic records are legible and consistent, not encouraging other members of the health care team to assume or guess medications, dosages, and other physician orders written on the patients’ charts once they get hard to read. Fragmentation of information that may be caused by paper records have the risk of increasing health care cost to manage adverse effects the patient could experience in the event that something undesirable happens when information on paper are misinterpreted. Another advantage of an EHR is its increased capabilities to store information for longer periods of time, and it is accessible, allowing immediate retrieval of information (Gurley). The system is also designed to detect abnormal results, in laboratory and diagnostic procedures, for instance, and reminds and alerts providers when such are found in the records. This feature thus enhances patient safety in the deliverance of care. One disadvantage with an EHR is its startup costs, which may be too much (Gurley). Although the system is seen to reduce health care costs, there is a need for financial capital to be invested during its initial adoption that may be a huge amount. Also, to users who are not technically knowledgeable, EHRs may become difficult, instead of convenient, to them. The issues considered when EHRs are ... Read More
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