Western Governors University
August 22, 2012
Computerized Management in Healthcare
In the past, physicians and healthcare organizations have been slow to embrace the advantages of using information technology but this is gradually changing. In the July 2012 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief, NCHS stated that by 2011, 55% of physicians had adopted an electronic health record (Jamoom et al., 2012). The Department of Health and Humans Services stated that the percentage of hospitals in the United States using some form of electronic health record has doubled in the last two years (Paddock, 2012). This is partially due to the passing of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This act gave the Department of Health and Human Services the authority to develop programs to improve patient care, quality and safety by promoting health information technology (HIT). When eligible providers and hospitals adopt certified electronic health record (EHR) technology and use it to achieve specific objectives, they can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments. This adoption and meaningful use will also prevent future reimbursement reductions. Although this incentive may have been the impetus to adopt this technology, it became obvious there was improvement in patient care that resulted from this change. Increase in Quality Care
Change is difficult and this is one of the most common frustrations verbalized by healthcare professionals during the implementation of an EHR. The benefits begin to outweigh this as they become more comfortable with the system. The nurses quickly embraced the fact that there were no charts to search for or no delay due to someone else working with the chart. Test results are available immediately after being resulted, which allows treatment to begin much sooner. A physician is also able to view these results remotely instead of waiting for them to be called in by the nursing staff. There are occasions when a physician requests a consult by a specialist and with computerized systems, the specialist is able to look at imaging studies remotely and offer an opinion almost immediately. There are many safeguards related to medications that improve patient safety. Barcode systems alert the nurse if he or she is about to administer the wrong medication, wrong route, wrong dose or to the wrong patient. The computerized system also has alerts for allergies and drug interactions. In an emergency situation or when a patient cannot provide a complete history of medications or allergies, an electronic medical record can furnish the necessary information and save precious time previously spent searching for this information. Patient education is an integral part of health maintenance and these computerized systems easily furnish educational documents, medication lists and summaries of patient encounters at the time of service. This reduces the chances of the patient misunderstanding what was said to them by the healthcare provider. In addition to these patient specific benefits, this sharing of information benefits public health. Earlier detection of disease outbreaks, value and quality comparisons, and improved surveillance are some of these benefits. Lastly, enhanced privacy and security are additional benefits of and EHR. All systems are password protected and security access determines a user’s ability to view and/or document in the system. There are audit trails that provide the user’s identity, date and time that they accessed or documented in the chart. Active Nursing Involvement
Nurses and physicians will be the main users of the EHR and therefore, should be deeply involved in the selection process. The nurse is the interdisciplinary team member that is involved in all aspects of the patient’s care and is aware of the various team members and how they interact...