The implementation of electronic health records

Electronic health records (EHRs) encompasses the storage of patient’s information in digital format. This includes information such as the patient’s name, gender, age, and diagnosis. It also includes weight, medical history, billing information, laboratory tests, among others. A decade ago practitioners advocated for the use of EHR to improve the quality of health care. Nowadays it is not only used to improve the quality of health care but also to improve quality outcomes through care management programs.

These records can be shared across different departments, organizations, and hospitals. They are shared using network connections, enterprise-wide information systems, and information networks and exchanges. EHRs have greatly contributed to improving quality outcomes in health care by minimizing errors, increasing the accuracy of medical records, preventing duplicate tests and delays in hospitals.

EHRs are managed by information technology experts who have a vast knowledge of information technology. They are secure as they can only be used by authorized users. They have login settings and passwords that regulate access to these records. EHRs help in tracking the progress of a patient, allow better documentation and file management and assist patients to stick to medical schedules. Although the electronic health records have improved the quality of health care they are faced by several challenges that IT professionals, the government and health care practitioners have not yet discovered a solid and lasting solution to.

The problems can be categorized into three; natural, human threats and technology failures. The records are sometimes hacked by hackers who are seeking to collect information about a particular person. Such information can land a health care institution into trouble as health care institutions are supposed to maintain the utmost discretion about their patient’s health condition.

Apart from hackers, the records are supported by systems that can be affected by natural calamities such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires. Also, there are possible technology failures such as crashing. This can cause data loss. It is therefore important to have a backup in case the system crashes.

Electronic health records act as a guide. They help various organizations and the government approximate the number of patients suffering from a particular disease. This forms the basis for policy formation, distribution of resources such as medication and guide health care practitioners on the areas they should provide more health education.

References

Thornton, Mark. “The “meaningful use” regulation for electronic health records.” n Engl j Med 2010.363 (2010): 501-504.

Jha, Ashish K., et al. “Use of electronic health records in US hospitals.” New England Journal of Medicine 360.16 (2009): 1628-1638.

Pagliari, Claudia, Don Detmer, and Peter Singleton. “Potential of electronic personal health records.” Bmj 335.7615 (2007): 330-333.

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