Are Electronic Medical Records a Cure for Health Care?
MGT 5014 – Information Systems
“The information contained in the medical record allows health care providers to determine the patient's medical history and provide informed care. The medical record serves as the central repository for planning patient care and documenting communication among patient and health care provider and professionals contributing to the patient's care (Medical Records, 2012).” Medical information today is still being kept by using paper medical records. In 2010, 80 percent of doctors and 90 percent of hospitals were still using paper medical records. This is in the United States.
With the enormous cost of medical care spending is inflated because of inefficiency, errors, and fraud. Information technology may provide the answer by streamlining the current use of paper medical records into a unified national electronic medical record (EMR) system. The creation of this system is at the urging of the government and many insurance companies are also lending their support to the development of EMR systems (Laudon, 2012).
“In 2009, the United States spent $2.5 trillion on health, which was 17.6 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). Approximately 12 percent of that figure was spent on administrative cost, most of which involve the upkeep of medical records (Laudon, 2012).” An EMR system will reduce medical errors, improve care, create less paperwork, and provide quicker service to patient. This is the belief of many experts and will also lead to future savings of an estimated $77.8 billion per year.
The government has a short term goal for health providers to have an EMR system in place by 2015. The long term goal is to have a nationwide EMR system for medical for medical record keeping.
A major obstacle to overcome is the systems that have been development and implemented in 2010 will they be compatible with one another in 2015. This could jeopardize the goal of national system where health care information could be shared by medical providers. There are many smaller obstacles that heath providers, heath care IT developers, and insurance companies need to overcome for electronic health records to catch on nationally, including patients’ privacy concerns, data quality issues, and resistance from health care workers (Laudon, 2012). Other obstacles to overcome are the smaller medical practices and hospitals because of the cost of an EMR system.
To offset these cost the government plans to use money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “First, $2 billion will be provided up front to hospitals and physicians to help set up electronic records. Another $17 billion will also be available as a reward for providers that successfully implement electronic records by 2015 (Laudon, 2015).” To qualify for this money, medical providers must show “meaningful use” of their EMR system. Those who fail to comply will face with new EMR system standards will face penalties.
There are many factors in management, organizational and technological difficulties in building an EMR system. These factors are physician and organizational resistance, high cost and lack of capital, and technology incompatibility.
“The biggest obstacle is the lack of institutional commitment. Many hospitals in the United States are losing money and cannot afford all of the technologies and services they would like. Because it takes at least a decade to select and implement a comprehensive clinical information system, beleaguered executives are often reluctant to initiate a long-range strategic project that they might not be able to see through to fruition. Lack of commitment may also be attributable to concerns about demonstrable returns on investment in information technology, and there are some examples of wasteful failures. However, the number of well documented examples of...