Electronic Health Records

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records Michelle H Gay
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
There are many advantages to electronic health records but there are as many disadvantages to implementation of this technology. This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages that take place during the implementation process of electronic health records. This material was gathered from published materials. The health care industry is an organization that can prosper from electronic health records if the barriers can be overcome.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electronic Health Records
Society today is ever changing as is technology. Technology is omnipresent especially throughout the medical profession. Historically the only means available to record health information were paper and pen, today the industry has multiple options. This type of information has been known to be transmitted between practitioners and facilities via personal messenger, phone, or interdepartmental mail. There are numerous options of transmittal but most of the above mentioned methods were fraught with errors and time consuming. Medical information recorded in paper format makes tasks difficult, provides opportunities for mistakes, and lacks transferability. Many physicians’ offices and integrated health facilities are implementing an electronic health record in hopes that it will increase efficiency, reduce medical errors, and improve communication between the many providers in the system. An electronic medical record (EMR) is a medical record in digital format that allows for a variety of functions. Electronic medical record can facilitate access of patient data by clinical staff at any given location, build automated checks for drug and allergy interactions, incorporate accurate and complete claims to insurance companies, expedite the scheduling process of appointments, send and view certain types of labs, and send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. Many facilities have accepted the benefit and importance of EMR but others are still reluctant for many reasons. The advantages and possible disadvantages are looked at from a broad spectrum by different people and different facilities. The low adoption rates according to the benefits and barriers that are presented need to be examined to fully understand why the US is observed as being behind the technology criteria (Hillestad, 2005).

According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, on average of 17.6 % of physicians report using EMRs in their office based practices, 29 % use them in hospital outpatient departments, and 31% use them while in hospital emergency departments. As of 2005, adoption of the EMR has been the low with limited physician practices. Practices with more physicians and those owned by health maintenance organizations were significantly more likely to use this technology (Burt & Sisk, 2005). Researchers and analysts have pushed for EMR technology and have stated that information technology systems would improve quality of care and the efficiency of health services. It has been noted that the US tends to adopt other clinical technology but presently the adoption for EMR are straggling behind the other parts of the world. Burt and Sisk (2005) reported that the federal government has developed a framework to accelerate the adoption of Health Information Technology, with the goal of having EMRs for most practices within the next decade. This framework calls for bringing EMRs into clinical practice through financial and nonfinancial incentives and support. It also calls for interconnecting clinicians through regional and national frameworks, improving consumers’ access to information, and improving population health through public health surveillance. Quality-of-care monitoring, research, and dissemination of knowledge will aid in the framework for...
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