Over the years, modern technology has rapidly found its arms in almost all sectors in the globalization wave to improve service delivery. The healthcare industry is no exception to the turbulent transformation given that quality healthcare to the patient is a compelling reality for the practitioners. For too long, incorporating modern technology in the healthcare industry present a hot-button issue which no individual would alienate from in the quest for improving health care. This arose from the understandably requirement to comply with standards surrounding the security and privacy of patient data behind a secure firewall (Good, 2013). Nevertheless, this is not enough threat to scare away efforts to integrate technology-based healthcare services, innovatively established under the digital transformation offering solid quality and inexpensive care. Incorporating Electronic Health Record through support of modern technology in the recent digital transformation equates to shifting from promise to accomplishing the reality of quality healthcare.
Implementation of Electronic Health Record
In practice, the healthcare environment presents a complex setting different from one captured in theoretical assertions; demonstrating a beehive of activities generating unforgiving demand for the physicians to meet. For that reason, implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system eases the burden for the practitioners in allowing retrieval and exchange of information to improve coordination of clinical staff in the hospital setting. In the new wake of telemedicine, Electronic Health Record systems allow the medical providers keep documented track of patient health and medical history in a computerized format, easily retrievable to ease navigation through the healthcare sector (Torrey, 2012).
Despite the positive contribution of EHR, the benefits of the investment are far from attainment unless the ultimate support system is established to guarantee safety and efficiency. For instance, the gradual replacement of the paper-based system to computerized healthcare environment emerges from missing standardization, safety and privacy concerns standing in the way its full operation. Similarly, since Electronic Health Record involves a complex lifetime record of the patients, implementation of such requires authorized care and access to avoid leakage that may expose the medical providers to liability risks. In particular, a backup system is essential to ensure the Electronic Health Record captures and performs the basic functions including computerized orders for prescriptions, orders for tests, reporting of test results and physician notes (Torrey, 2012). As a result, implementing EMR marks the beginning of the automation journey to improve availability and collaboration in using the medical history of the patient to enforce quality healthcare services.
Healthcare transition to computerized services attained by implementing Electronic Health Record applications, aims to resolve medical error concerns which expose the patient safety. In that view, a foundation of Electronic Health Record applications to eliminate medical errors will compose CDR, CPOE, pharmacy management system, and the electronic medication administration record eMAR (Garets & Davis, 2006). These systems operate in a similar functionality with the electronic clinical systems. Additionally, the solid foundation of CDR data architecture and the CMV workflow features allow the delivery of information to all authorized practitioners and exchange of data. However, for the organization to realize complete benefits of the EHR system, an ancillary clinical support system for feeding data to a clinical data repository (CDR) is essential to retrieve and review results (Garets & Davis, 2006).
Electronic health record serves to reduce errors evident when physicians lack a clear background of the historical record. This requires the clinical decision support system implemented to provide image access from picture archive and communication systems (PAC) for other physicians access the information via the intranet and outside the radiology department confinements (Garets & Davis, 2006). Assembling the appropriate technological infrastructure enables the organization to address the safety and privacy concerns while optimizing the flexibility and reliability of the system. However, attaining this in a system requires the organization to select amongst private, public or hybrid clouding approaches depending on the organization’s operation. For instance, the Microsoft Flexible Work-style offers support to a hybrid access of the EMR information, while a Microsoft Security and Compliance offering protect data and manages risk (Microsoft, 2013).
Majorly, EHR applies the principle of connectivity to provide inter-phase of data exchange and open communication amongst authorized practitioners in the healthcare system network. Consequently, retrieval and exchange of stored patient information require application of cloud computing. In particular, cloud computing encompasses a lot of territory to facilitate data exchange and interoperability required in a healthcare system to crate enterprise integration among components (Neuburger, 2009). Replacing the paper-based records requires replacing the customary file-based system with databases to ease storage, retrieval and efficiency during an exchange of patient records. This demands establishing and sustaining database requiring support of computerized information systems.
Furthermore, implementing a complete electronic health record system requires establishing a direct link with the certified information technology ideal for the healthcare settings. For example, a modular approach to healthcare services requires simultaneous application of e-prescribing, disease registries, hospital system connections, evidence at the point of care and interactive patient Web portals (Ball, 2011). Electronic prescribing allows the physician to transmit the prescription to the pharmacy easing the service delivery for patients and practitioners are exempted from unnecessary movements. Correspondingly, implementing EMR requires installation of a healthcare information technology with unique and specific features to suit the healthcare settings. Such support technologies include radiology information systems (RIS), picture archiving and communication systems and remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices (Federal Register, 2010).
Complete application of electronic health records focuses on bridging the practitioner-patient relationship deficit in the customary paper-based system. In reference to that, supporting software is essential to link the patient registry with the personal health records to equip the patients with ability to store and access their personal health information in the absence of physician assistance (Ball, 2011). In addition, organizations providing specialized healthcare to the patients require a patient registry for keeping track of the specific patient affected by the particular condition. This will allow other physician to manage the condition proactively during repeat visits to avoid medication errors.
Needless to say about the spreading mobile technology, application of health software to allow patient obtain remote and direct access to clinical reference material linked to the EHR willease the healthcare service (Ball, 2011). Lastly, since the electronic healthcare record comprises a legal data capturing past encounters with the patient, consistency is crucial to guarantee quality healthcare. This requires establishing an application environment composed of clinical data repository (CDR), clinical decision support (CDS) tools, controlled medical vocabulary (CMV), and clinical documentation supported across outpatient and inpatient services (Domitru, 2008).
Implementing electronic health records enabled the physicians and patients navigate the patient information recorded in the past and present to improve future healthcare services. Importantly, reviewing the medical history of the patient electronically eliminates the hurdles often leading to medical errors in the paper-based system. At this point, consistent and timely information are key features identified with the EHR. However, implementation of the above mentioned technologies is essential to ensure a complete electronic health record is fully operational for the patient’s wellbeing.
- Ball, K. (2011). Health Information Technology. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://www.ama-cmeonline.com/health_it/ama_health_it_transcript.pdf
- Domitru, D. (2008). The Pharmacy Informatics Primer. ASHP.
- Federal Register. (2010, January 28). Federal Register, 75(144).
- Garets, D., & Davis, M. (2006, January 26). Electronic Medical Records Vs electronic Health Records. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://www.himssanalytics.org/docs/wp_emr_ehr.pdf
- Good, S. (2013, May 02). Why Healthcare Must Embrace Cloud Computing. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/centurylink/2013/05/02/why-healthcare-must-embrace-cloud-computing/
- Microsoft. (2013). EMR: Electronic Medical Records. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://www.microsoft.com/health/en-us/solutions/Pages/electronic-medical-records.aspx
- Neuburger, J. (2009, March 24). Electronic Health Records – the Next Big Thing in Technology? Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://newmedialaw.proskauer.com/2009/03/24/electronic-health-records-the-next-big-thing-in-technology/
- Torrey, T. (2012, October 23). What is an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) or EHR (Electronic Health Record)? Retrieved July 02, 2013, from http://patients.about.com/od/electronicpatientrecords/a/emr.htm
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