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Electronic Medical Records

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Electronic Health Records

Jennifer L. Benoit

University of Phoenix

HCS/212 Version 3

August 4, 2013

Elaine Della Vecchia

Technology is a tool that comes in many forms and usually helps improve efficiency and effectiveness. However, technology alone does not improve the efficiency and effectiveness of patient care. Momentum for health information technology (HIT) grew when, in 2004, President George W. Bush set a goal for the creation of an electronic health record for every American by 2014. Health care leaders are working to understand various HIT options; ways of ensuring the privacy and security of patient information to comply with the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA); and the importance of sharing patient information with other providers, who are sometimes competitors. Physicians, CEOs, and boards do agree on the importance of HIT but they struggle to justify its cost when most of its benefits accrue to others, such as payers. In the future, a patient’s health information will be available electronically, following as the patient progresses through the system of care and various providers (Thielst, 2007, p. 3).
The Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

Many healthcare facilities wonder about the benefits of switching over to electronic health records.” There are many benefits to using electronic medical records (EHRs). The healthcare field is a team effort and when everyone has the patient’s medical information it helps things go smoother. EHRs are designed to help improve the quality and safety of patient care. The promise of fully realized EHRs is to have a record that includes a patient's health information: a record that is up-to-date, complete, and accurate. This puts providers in a better position to work with their patients to make good decisions. Providers who use EHRs report tangible improvements in their ability to make better decisions with more comprehensive information. EHRs can also flag dangerous drug interactions (to help prescribing doctors explore alternatives before a problem occurs), verify medications and dosages (to ensure that pharmacists dispense the right drug), and reduce the need for potentially risky tests and procedures (Health It.gov, 2012).
What I Know About Technology In Health Care

There is not much I know about technology in health care. I have not worked in the health care field since 2008 and there have been several changes. When I was working as a Medical Assistant, we still had the paper charts for every patient. I know there are some physicians in the area where I reside that have switched over to electronic health records (EHRs) but there are also other physicians who still use a paper chart. I am wondering if the cost of converting to EHRs is why some physicians still use paper charts. I know it is a hefty expense for converting but the benefits outweigh the cost.

Why I chose this article. I chose this article about EHRs because I found it very interesting about all the benefits to converting to EHRs instead of using paper charts. This article made it very easy for me to understand the facts about EHRs and how it is very cost-effective for everyone. Being able to have EHRs is not only about the convenience of having a patient’s entire health history at the tip of our fingers, but also about making sure there are no drug interactions and the patient’s history is up to date. Specifically, EHRs can enhance patient safety and provide safer health care through: * Comprehensiveness: EHRs can offer a more complete picture of a patient’s health to doctors than paper records. This information can give doctors the information they need to evaluate a patient’s current condition in the context of their health history and other treatments they may be receiving. * Speed: In a crisis, EHRs can give those providing patient care instant accesses to information about their medical history, allergies, and prescriptions they can use to make appropriate decisions sooner, instead of waiting for information from test results. * Flagging potential conflicts: Many EHRs incorporate warning systems to inform doctors when they order a medication that could interact with something you already take. This information can prompt doctors to explore alternatives before a problem occurs. * Verifying medications and dosages: Many e-prescribing systems incorporate a verification system that checks the barcode on a medication against the drug name and dosage information on the original prescription, helping pharmacists avoid dispensing the wrong medication. * Reducing the need to repeat risky tests and procedures: Even the safest medical tests and procedures carry risk. Having a comprehensive EHR can reduce the risk of repeating them unnecessarily, leading to safer health care (Health It.gov, 2012).

How do I think this technology will change health care? I think that this technology will change health care in a significant way and improve the way physicians assess their patient’s. I can recall when I lived in Texas and the physician I saw used EHRs. It was very convenient to have all my records in one place and instead of the physician giving me a hand-written prescription, she would e-mail it to the pharmacy. I believe that sending prescriptions by e-mail saves the medical staff time because this ensures the accuracy of the prescription given to the patient, and it is also an efficient way to verify for drug interactions.

Unfamiliar Terms There were a few medical terms that I came across and was not familiar with while researching my article. I learned the difference between electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs). An EMR contains the standard medical and clinical data gathered in one provider’s office. Electronic health records (EHRs) go beyond the data collected in the provider’s office and include a more comprehensive patient history. Unlike EMRs, EHRs also allow a patient’s health record to move with him or her—to other health care providers, specialists, hospitals, nursing homes, and even across states (Health It.gov, 2012).

Conclusion I believe that implementing the use of electronic health records (EHRs) is very cost-effective for our economy and that it will also save the medical team time. When you have the entire history of your patient in one file, it makes it easier for the medical staff to assess, and treat the patient correctly. When a patient goes into the emergency room, and they are unconscious, having his or her EHR will be crucial because the medical staff will be able to see what medications that patient is currently taking and if he or she has any drug allergies. I am excited to see the future of health care making these beneficial changes.

References
Health It. (2012). Learn HER Basics. Retrieved from http://www.healthit.gov/providers- professionals/learn-ehr-basics
Thielst, Christina B. (2007). The future of healthcare technology. Journal of Healthcare Management, 52 (1), 7-9. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/206729750?accountid=458

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