Medical Informatics and Administrative Applications Free Essay

Impact of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Implementation in the USA

 

The emergence of electronic health records (EHRs) has opened new opportunities for the development of effective health care services and consistently better information processing compared to the use of conventional paper health records. The introduction of electronic health records aimed at the improvement of the information processing and quality of health care services. EHRs allow collecting information about patients and record all health-related issues. This information may be helpful for the treatment of patients and prevention of dangerous side-effects caused by their specific health issues, such as allergic reactions on certain medicaments. However, the introduction of EHRs raised the problem of the legal regulation which, in a way, persists till now, because technologies have surpassed the legislation. In response, the HIPAA and other regulations were introduced to enhance the protection of the private information of patients and secure new information technologies used in the field of health care, including EHRs. Therefore, the introduction of EHRs turned out to be very effective in terms of the enhancement of the quality and efficiency of health care services being delivered to patients, but the appearance of EHRs require the enhancement of the legislation to protect the private information of patients.

The implementation of EHR in the US opens larger prospects for the delivery of health care services of the high quality and consistent improvement of health care services. EHR will provide health care professionals with important information relevant to the history of each patient and, therefore, this information will be very helpful in the treatment of each patient, while, in some cases, such information can help health care professionals to save life of patients. If patients need urgent medication treatment but are allergic, for instance, then health care professionals can use HER to get information on the patient’s health problems to identify the essential medication. At the same time, the implementation of EHR should start with the accurate definition of terms used to avoid possible legal problems associated with misuse of the private information of patients’ for instance, or create technologies that may affect private information of patients.

Today, the number of health care organizations using EHR grows but still the share of health care organizations using EHR is low. One of the studies shows that the number of hospitals using EHR has increased but the growth is moderate 8.7% in 2008 to 11.9% in 2009 (Stalker, 2009). Small, public, and rural hospitals were less likely to introduce EHR compared to larger, private, and urban hospitals. Only 2 percent of U.S. hospitals had electronic health records in 2006 that would “allow them to meet the federal government’s “meaningful use” criteria” (Zuckerman, 2006, p.5). In such a way, the share of health care organizations that can use EHR in accordance to national standards criteria is extremely low that prevents the mass use of EHR.

In actuality, the share of office-based physicians with EHR grows. Health care professionals prefer using EHRs because they are easy to use and provide them with accurate and detailed information on patients’ health. However, costs of EHR grow consistently. In the past, when EHR has been just introduced, average costs comprised $44,000 per full-time-equivalent (FTE) provider, while later costs averaged $8,500 per provider per year (Miller, 1130). Today, costs of EHR increased substantially, while 28% of health care organizations have already implemented EHR, but substantial incentives ($66,000 for doctor’s and more for hospitals) may stimulate the rise of usage of EHR in health care organizations (Menachemi, 2011).

At the same time, positive effects of EHR are obvious. Specialists (Maekawa & Majima, 2006) report that hospitals using EHR/EMR systems have a 3 to 4% lower mortality rate compared to hospitals that do not use HER. At the same time, 195,000 patients die annually because of medical errors, which could have been prevented, if EHR had been introduced (Maekawa & Majima, 2006).

The development of new information systems is one of the major challenges health care organizations may face while introducing EHR because they need substantial financial resources. In addition, health care organizations need to secure data stored in EHR and databases of health care organizations. In such a way, they can protect private information of patients from information breaches.

The introduction of EHR in the US carries on the government and government agencies support the further introduction of EHR in American hospitals to increase the share of hospitals with EHR substantially. Thus, it is obvious that the introduction of EHR will carry on and its implementation in the national health care system to replace written records is just a matter of time.

The implementation of EHR may trigger the emergence of different issues that affect the performance of health care organizations and patients. EHRs have to focus on the enhancement of the data security and prevention of information breaches through EHRs. Therefore, health care providers should secure information and enhance their information systems (Ekmekci, O. & C.L. Turley 2008). The information systems used for EHRs are costly but they have to protect the data and personal information of patients effectively. The cost-benefit analysis reveals the fact that EHRs are cost efficient because numerous benefits of EHRs outweigh costs of the introduction of EHRs. Moreover, they are more effective and accurate compared to conventional health records which need more time for obtaining and processing compared to EHRs. Also conventional health records are not always comprehensible for health care professionals, if there are handwritten records, for example.

Second, the introduction of EHRs has become the priority for the public health policy and the government plans to reward health care organizations that introduce EHRs through government contracts and support of such health care organizations and inclusion of patients that rely on the government support in the coverage of their health insurance and health care services. The government has set very strict and specific requirements concerning EHRs through HIPAA and other acts that protect the privacy of patients and data security related to health records. Health care organizations are interested in EHRs introduction because they count on the government support which is often essential for them to raise extra funds to address their financial needs. Health care professionals should use EHRs in compliance with government standards and requirements.

The use of EHRs raises the problem of the proper training and preparedness of health care organizations and professionals to use EHRs safely and effectively. To meet emerging needs of EHRs use, health care professionals may need training, while health care organizations should provide them with proper training to help them to use the full potential of EHRs. Training of health care professionals helps them to use EHRs safely and minimize the risk of information breaches. At this point, researchers (Menachemi, 2011) argue that one of the major causes of information breaches related to the patient health is the low awareness of health care professionals about the protection of the patient’s personal information and their low expertise in the field of the data protection. Health care professionals often underestimate risks related to information breaches and they may expose patients to the risk of the revelation of their health information to the third parties.

The wider introduction of EHRs is also important due to the positive impact EHRs have on the delivery of health care services. Patients, whose health history is recorded in EHRs, can receive high quality health care services because health care professionals can mare more accurate diagnosis compared to patients without EHRs because EHRs provide detailed information about each patient which health care professionals may retrieve in the matter of seconds or minutes at the most. In addition, EHRs can help to prevent numerous problems associated with the lack of information about specificities of patients’ health. For example, some patients may have allergic reactions to certain medicaments or they may have very special conditions that require very specific treatment. EHRs can provide health care professionals with such information, while, if professionals do not have access to such information, the risk of dangerous side effects increases substantially along with the risk of errors being made by health care professionals in the treatment of their patients.

Thus, EHRs are very effective in terms of information processing and updating health information of patients fast and easy but the use of EHRs needs the effective legislation and regulations to protect the privacy of patients. The government plays an important part in the effective introduction of EHRs because government sets standards of EHRs and information safety with the help of such acts as HIPAA. Therefore, the government should help helaht care organizations to introduce EHRs safely. Alternatively, the government should provide health care organizations and companies working on the introduction of EHR with tax credits and use other financial motivators to facilitate the introduction of EHR, while customers should not suffer from the introduction of HER but only benefit. The development of EHR and their introduction in American hospitals can decrease the risk of errors that may have negative consequences for health of their patients. In addition, health care professionals will be able to receive important information related to health of patients fast that will increase the quality of health care services and their effectiveness.

References:

Ekmekci, O. & C.L. Turley. (2008). “Duplicate, Replicate Speculate, or Innovate? How Health Care Managers Solve Problems,” SAM Advanced Management Journal, 73(2), pp. 4-11.

Fleming, N. S. (2011). “The Financial and Nonfinancial Costs of Implementing Electronic Health Records in Primary Care Practices,” Health Affairs, 30 (3), pp. 481–489.

Kirkman-Liff, B.L. (1994). “Management without Frontiers: Health System Convergence Leads to Health Care Management Convergence,” Frontiers of Health Services Management, 11(1), pp. 3-9.

Maekawa, Y. & Y. Majima. (2006). “Issues to be improved after introduction of a non-customized Electronic Medical Record system (EMR) in a Private General Hospital and efforts toward improvement,” Studies in Health Technology and Informatics.

Menachemi, N. C. (2011). “Benefits and drawbacks of electronic health record systems,” Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 47.

Miller, R. H. et al. (2005). “The Value of Electronic Health Records in Solo or Small Group Practices,” Health Affairs, 24(5), pp. 1127–1137.

Nulan, C. (2001). “HIPAA – a real world perspective,” Radiol Manage, 23 (2): 29–37

Stalker, S.A. et al. (2009). “Planning a Coordinated Local Health Care System Response to a Pandemic Using an Accelerated Delphi Technique: Phase 1,” Canadian Journal of Public Health, 100(1), pp. 65-72.

Thede, L. (2008). “Informatics: The Electronic Health Record: Will nursing be on board when the ship leaves?” OJIN, 12(3). Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/Columns/Informatics/ElectronicHealthRecord.aspx

Zuckerman, A.M. (2006). “Advancing the State of the Art in Healthcare Strategic Planning,” Frontiers of Health Services Management, 23(2), pp. 3-8.

Wang, S. et al. (2003). “A cost-benefit analysis of electronic medical records in primary care,” The American Journal of Medicine, 114(5), pp. 397–403.

 

 

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: May 24, 2022]
close
Haven't found the right essay?
Get an expert to write you the one you need!
print

Professional writers and researchers

quotes

Sources and citation are provided

clock

3 hour delivery

person