Western Governors University
Health care costs are rising, quality of care is declining, lines and waiting times are getting longer which is causing more errors in healthcare. But the healthcare reform is working on changing all of that and bringing the countries healthcare into the 21st century. This paper will explore how computerized healthcare systems increase quality of care, keep patient information accessible yet safe, the challenges on costs, and will compare two separate systems and evaluate each with a recommendation of one for use. Quality of care is important for anyone who accesses the healthcare system. This can become difficult when patients are seen in different healthcare systems, or even from the primary care setting to the hospital setting. Computerized management systems (CMS) make a patients visit to any area safer. Any provider with access can see all of the patient’s records at any given time and in an organized fashion. Providers will have prior tests, medications, and past medical history all at their fingertips to provide more accurate care and quicker care. All of this will lead to fewer mistakes and quicker diagnosis. If continuity of care is increased, quality of care will also be increased. Nursing involvement in the development of CMS is extremely important. The ratio of nurses to any other hospital staff using the system is much greater, thus nursing should have the biggest influence on planning and use. Nursing staff is well aware of any faults with paper records as many hours are spent on clinical documentation and not on patient care (Rein, 2011, para. 3). Nursing staff is also on the ‘frontline’ listening to the complaints and concerns from patients. They know what it would take to improve the communities view on healthcare. Nurses are also the ones who can convey a more positive attitude about the system if they have been involved in design and implementation. A Harris poll in 1999 showed that “92 percent of the public said they trust information about health care provided by registered nurses, ranking nurses just 1 percentage point below physicians” (Rein, 2011, para. 9). Handheld devices used with CMS can optimize care given to patients because patient information can be accessed anytime and anywhere via wireless technology. A hardwired computer is not needed in order to access the information. Quality of care is improved because of even quicker access to records, tests, and labs. PDA use can not only streamline nursing, but also give them access to electronic resources to increase efficiency and reduce errors (Johnson, 2008, para. 16). Security is a big concern when it comes to computerized patient records. Prior to the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") from 1996, there were few standards in place to protect health information ("HIPPA," 2013, para. 1) In 2006, congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health ("HITECH") Act, which applied more severe punishment for HIPPA violations ("HIPPA," 2013, para. 3) Institutions have to go to great lengths to ensure patient information remains safe and secure. Policies and procedures must be in effect and then employees must be held accountable to them. Access to records must be controlled. Only those who need to have access should be able to access records. Unique user identification methods should be in place to maintain this and they should have automatic log off timing to prevent unauthorized persons from seeing records. Institutions should also perform routine audits of accesses in order to prevent HIPPA violations. This should include network security audits and risk assessments. Mobile devices are also being used more and these devices should be encrypted. Complying with HIPPA standards maintains trust and prevents breaches of information ("HIPPA," 2013, para. 5).
EMR is a costly...