Nowadays, the replacement of paper-based documentation by computers is vastly common. This report aims to discuss the implementation of the electronic health record (EHR) system in the context of business continuity. Numerous related issues will be considered while establishing the principal objectives, activities, and challenges. Also, this report will provide the rebuttal of the skepticism toward the implementation.
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Primary Tasks and Major Policies
The primary task is to implement the EHR system as it provides “efficient and real-time services to patients and create improvements in quality, flexibility, and patient safety” (Rezaeibagha, Win, & Susilo, 2015, p. 23), and to maintain the system on the terms of business continuity. Therefore, three major policies should be applied:
- utility and availability of the EHR system should be provided under any adverse conditions,
- security of the EHR data must be continuously maintained,
- the system as a whole should be continually developed and evaluated.
Those policies aim to provide the continuity of access to data.
Ongoing Evaluations and Procedural Changes
Based on the aforementioned policies, the ongoing evaluations should be carried out to continually monitor the situation by collecting the statistical data and analyzing it. It would provide an adequate assessment of the EHR system’s efficiency. Further, based on those evaluations, it is possible to compose a detailed business continuity plan, which would help to estimate the potential adverse outcomes and, accordingly, to prevent them (Niemimaa, 2015). The primary procedural change that should take place is the transition from the paper-based health record system to the electronic format, which imposes a significant amount of work on the company.
Rebuttal of Skepticism
Although some might view the implementation of the electronic health record system from the skeptical point, its efficiency is undeniable. There is considerable apprehension about the monetary value of the EHR system since it comes with a potentially large price tag. However, the adequate execution of the business continuity (BC) plan would help to benefit from the investment and to prevent the company from losses. In particular, such factors as “strong management support, a visible business champion, sufficient resources, effective user participation, appropriate technical team skills and source system data quality” are valuable in the efficient implementation of the BC plan (Foshay & Kuziemsky, 2014, p. 22). In the next section, the most fundamental aspects of the project will be discussed.
High-Level Activities and Their Potential Pitfalls
Business Continuity Management
It is critical to maintain the constant access availability of the EHR system and to protect it from data leakage, disruption, and failures. To do that, such methods as digital clustering, RAID systems, and back-up procedures should be used (Rezaeibagha et al., 2015). Also, cloud computing technologies should be used to provide a higher level of availability and utility of EHR information (Rezaeibagha et al., 2015). If the EHR system was not properly prepared for the possible adverse influences, the company’s prosperity would vastly decrease.
Security of Communication
The EHR system should provide the customers with such features as authentication, integrity, the confidentiality of access, and non-repudiation (Rezaeibagha et al., 2015). Additionally, there are hackers who perform “harmful and costly attacks that prevent online payments and access to websites,” and they are a significant threat to the EHR security (Niemimaa, 2015, p. 70). The disclosure of the EHR information to the third parties would immensely harm both patients and workers because their private data about health and payments could be misused. Thus, the security of communication is vastly important.
Patients’ Choice Mechanism
Another important aspect that should be taken into consideration is the customers’ growing demand for a higher level of control over their private health data and its use. As Rezaeibagha et al. (2015) mention, there are such ISO standards that “supply patient consent by privacy-related profiles and techniques such as Patient Identification Cross-Referencing (PIX) and Cross-Enterprise User Assertion (XUA)” (p. 28). This policy is of critical importance because otherwise, patients might be dissatisfied with the use of their personal information, and thus the company would incur losses due to the clients’ renouncement from service.
Flexibility and Interoperability
Additionally, the electronic health record system should possess such qualities as flexibility and interoperability. Flexibility, alongside with scalability, is achieved by the proper structuring of the EHR network architecture (Rezaeibagha et al., 2015). The development of the scalability allows avoiding the EHR system’s overloads, which could occur when large amounts of data are processed. Interoperability is also of primary importance because it allows information systems to exchange information, and thus the availability of information is enhanced (Rezaeibagha et al., 2015). If the mentioned features are not developed enough, the system might experience errors, overloads, and downtimes, which would negatively influence the company.
Challenges Imposed by the Implementation
In conclusion, it is necessary to mention the critical challenges that the implementation of the EHR system imposes. Firstly, the EHR system is at higher risk while it is establishing; thus, it is essential to enforce the ongoing evaluations on the initiatory stage. Secondly, the transition to electronic format from the paper-based record system could be a challenging process for both workers and patients.
Therefore, the newly implemented system must be explained to the customers, and some specific training should be held for workers. Thirdly, the majority of the EHR networks experience unexpected downtimes, and the preparations for those periods should be a part of the company’s patient safety strategy (Sittig, Gonzalez, & Singh, 2014). In overall effect, the company could benefit from the implementation of the EHR system.
Foshay, N., & Kuziemsky, C. (2014). Towards an implementation framework for business intelligence in healthcare. International Journal of Information Management, 34(1), 20-27.
Niemimaa, M. (2015). Interdisciplinary review of business continuity from an information systems perspective: Toward an integrative framework. Communication of the Association for Information System, 37(4), 69-102.
Rezaeibagha, F., Win, K. T., & Susilo, W. (2015). A systematic literature review on security and privacy of electronic health record systems: Technical perspectives. Health Information Management Journal, 44(3), 23-38.
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Sittig, D. F., Gonzalez, D., & Singh, H. (2014). Contingency planning for electronic health record-based care continuity: A survey of recommended practices. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 83(11), 797-804.