Potential threats and measures taken to protect it
Since the early 1980s, information technology have improved and revolutionized every aspect of our lives. We use information technology to do our daily chores like shopping and reading the latest global news at the comfort of our living room. It replaces old challenges with new possibilities. However, one of the areas that had evolved to this new demand in information technology but rather in a slow phase is the healthcare industry. Today’s healthcare includes hospitals and private clinics. A lack of an effective management of data about a disease and the treatment for saving lives can be put at risk.
In previous years medical information was stored only on paper and in one location, usually a patient's primary care physician's office or medical institute. People tend to migrate to a different area or country, thus making it difficult to transfer piles of paperwork and medical records to every point of medical institution which a patient is seeking treatment. It is even more complex when most patients visit more than a single physician or an institution and the process of being treated by a different number of nurses, consulting specialists, diagnostic technicians and administrative staff. Paper-based medical record systems are also adding the unnecessary expense to a medical institution. Registration clerks, nurses spend precious time away from patients attending to huge piles of paperwork. This adds up an enormous financial burden inclusive for the storage of the medical records and wages for the administrative support staff. Miss-kept or missing medical records adds to the lost of precious time and can lead to unnecessary or duplicating of clinical tests.
However, until recently, usage of information technology has increased and become prominent part of the healthcare industry. Many large hospitals and private hospitals have made the transition from old-school paper medical records to EHR, Electronic Health Record System. Early stages of an EHR System were base on a simple side but have advance tremendously. Now EHR System is Web-based which are accessible across networks and utilizing GUI, Graphics User Interface for interactivity. Web-based EHR are easy to use, have the capabilities to organize and link information, strong multimedia presentation capabilities, works on most hardware platform and operating system in the market; which communicate through the Internet and provide access to medical records using web browsers and web technologies.
Jamie R. Steck(1998), Director of IT from the Central Utah Clinic stated that “Efficiency has increased dramatically. We did an in-motion study in our records room, which showed that filing electronically is 80 percent more efficient than filing manually, and we’ve seen proof of that on a daily basis.”
Study shows that EHR is more efficient than the normal process of filing the paper-medical records. Health institution of many sizes faces many demands and challenges when making the transition from paper records to EHR. Healthcare institutions are working hard to reduce their reliance on handwritten records. EHR has improved patient care through greater and quicker access to patient information thus reducing medical errors due to paper-records. It also significantly reduces test result and patient wait-times with a faster and more efficient workflow. It also reduces record-keeping time thus decreasing paperwork for administrative staff. EHR establish a better information and improved communications in a medical institution. It reduces the possibility of misplaced and lost records thus ensuring the patient record; test results are available when needed. It reduces cost on paper and supply. But just as much as its ancestor, EHR are subjected to privacy violations.
Today, healthcares systems in developed countries are changing dramatically. These countries are looking into...