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Medicine: Electronic Medical Records Essay

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Updated: Mar 24th, 2022

Introduction

Paper-based records have been in existence for centuries and their gradual replacement by computer-based records has been underway for the past 20 years. These forms of electronic records are known as Electronic Health Records (EHR) and are the future of medical records (CMS Office of Public Affairs, 2010). Though it is expensive form of record-keeping, EHR holds major advantages over paper records. It is for this reason that we have decided to incorporate EHR into our system due to the vast advantages that we will derive from the system. The move will be in line with the US Department of Health Services’ mission of ensuring that health providers switch to electronic records to store clients’ health information.

Advantages of EMR

  • EMRs can make a patient’s health information available when and where it is needed – it is not locked away in one office or another.
  • EMRs can bring a patient’s total health information together in one place, and always be current – clinicians need not worry about not knowing the drugs or treatments prescribed by another provider, so care is better coordinated.
  • EMRs can support better follow-up information for patients – for example, after a clinical visit or hospital stay, instructions and information for the patient can be effortlessly provided, and reminders for other follow-up care can be sent easily or even automatically to the patient.
  • EMRs can improve patient and provider convenience – patients can have their prescriptions ordered and ready even before they leave the provider’s office.
  • EMRs can support better follow-up information for patients – for example, after a clinical visit or hospital stay, instructions and information for the patient can be effortlessly provided, and reminders for other follow-up care can be sent easily or even automatically to the patient.
  • EMRs can improve safety through their capacity to assist personnel in decision-making.
  • EMRs can improve privacy and security – with proper training and effective policies, electronic records can be more secure than paper.

EMR Security and Privacy

EMRs are vulnerable to security breaches just as all forms of electronic data are. Anyone with appropriate login can access EMRs, besides, a person can ‘steal’ login details over an unprotected network and have access to health records. It is common knowledge that the privacy of information reduces with an increase in the number of people who access it, this implies we will ensure that we have enough security measures to protect our clients’ information.

One point that we need to stress, however, is that even though EMRs may not be 100% secure, neither is paper (Thede, 2010). In fact, in our EMR system, we have created a program that will ensure the security of medical records, we have also put in place contingency plans in case the present program fails. Our security plans comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements (CMS Office of Public Affairs, 2010).

Our system has a login feature that will only allow persons with the correct username and password to access a clients’ health information. Each employee will have distinct login details and this will make it easy to trace persons who have accessed what records, as well as what part of the record was viewed. After use, an employee must log off when they leave a computer (or the system logs off for you). In addition, the system secures the information with multiple backups to protect the most important information. This makes our EMR system more secure than paper (as a person cannot be traced) and complies with the HIPAA specifications. Though previous studies have shown that privacy concerns outweigh the benefits of EMRs, we have installed ample security features in recognition of our customer’s privacy as a constitutional right (Bright, 2007).

Use of EMR to Improve Care

The EMR that we have developed has an easy-to-use interface and medical personnel will find its applicability in several instances. For example, personnel will be able to view a patient’s medical history record at a glance and determine what the patient could be suffering from. Medical personnel can use various methods to check for trends such as re-infections or an error in previous treatments patient’s medical records. These methods include graphs, curves, and analytic tools that incorporate parameters such as BMI and age. The system can also predict when a medical condition will recur next, and even the most effective treatment alternatives.

Implementation Team

Due to the intricate nature of the EMR system, we have come up with an implementation team to ensure a smooth transition from paper to electronic records. The implementation shall consist of seven people as outlined below:

EMR Implementation Officer (EIO)

I will head the EMR implementation team and will hold the position of the EMR Implementation Officer (EIO). My immediate assistant will make daily reports to me on the progress of the implementation process. I am a super-user and will be available to assist in any stage of the implementation process as I have received enough training regarding the EMR.

Assistant Implementation Officer (AIO)

The AIO will be answerable to the EIO and will communicate with the trainers regularly to identify any hurdles in the implementation process and come up with solutions regarding the same in consultation with other stakeholders.

EMR Training Officer (ETO)

The ETO will head the training program and will engage medical personnel on a personal level. He will command a team of four experts in training our employees on the technical aspects of the EMR. The ETO is a serving member of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the US Department of Health Services.

Trainers

We have four implementation officers who are all experts in the application of electronic records in healthcare. All officers have been trained by the CMS and have participated in previous training regarding EMRs in other health institutions. Each of the four implementation officers is a specialist on different parts of the EMR and will be answerable to the ETO.

References

Bright, B. (2007). Benefits of Electronic Health Records Seen as Outweighing Privacy Risks. Web.

CMS Office of Public Affairs. (2010). Electronic Health Records at a Glance. Web.

Smaltz, D. and Eta B. (2007). The Executive’s Guide to Electronic Health Records. Chicago: Health Administration Press.

Thede, L. (2010.) Informatics: Electronic Health Records: A Boon or Privacy Nightmare? OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 15 No. 2.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Medicine: Electronic Medical Records." March 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/medicine-electronic-medical-records/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Medicine: Electronic Medical Records'. 24 March.

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