Moving to an EHR can be difficult and the advantages may be unclear and the disadvantages may seem great. So, before we move into a new EHR, I think it would be best to go back and review what an EHR is, and then discuss the advantages and disadvantages. To start, an EHR (or Electronic Health Record) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. (CMS.gov, 2011) The main thing to note is that EHRs are best generated and maintained within a specific organization. Each location is going to have different needs for their own EHR system. In my professional opinion, I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of moving to an EHR. There are several things that I feel are highly important when it comes to a good EHR system. First off, patient safety – which should be the number one concern with any type of facility – is addressed by a component known as Computerized Physician Order Entry or CPOE. This component has a list of instructions for physicians to follow when they are prescribing medications to patients, which can greatly decrease medical errors.
Also, an EHR has in its programming the ability to cross-reference different medications with each other, to ensure that there is no mixing of the wrong types of drugs. Being computer-based also means that there is quick access to updated medical literature. So for instance, if a patient comes down with an illness that the physician has not come across before, they could go and research through other patient files to see if someone else has had the same symptoms. The main concerns that come to mind when moving to an EHR are the costs and the time spent on training. Initially...
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