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Electronic health record (EHR) refers to the records of health information of patients obtained during various cases of care provided to the patient and stored electronically. The information included concerns demographic characteristics of the patient, the kind of health problems, medication offered, progress notes and earlier medical history among other health information.
The mandate of EHR is to increase efficiency and ensure excellent outcome by improving the ability of the system to avoid hostile effects through the providence of timely access to health information of patients from the providers of healthcare. The aim is to ensure safe and secure sharing of information of health data between the health care providers to increase their efficiency (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013).
The development of EHR can be divided into two parts. There were efforts to implement it in the 1960s and 1970s when some medical facilities made their electronic systems. In the 1980s political leaders learned about the benefits of the program and started forming institutions to deal with the use of electronic health records. Lockheed was the first to make an EHR system known as a clinical information system. At the same time, the University of Utah combined with 3M began developing an EHR system which was based on the logical processing. Since then more efforts to improve the system were put by different organizations. At around 2000, the Computer-Based Patient Record Institute merged with Health Information and Management Systems creating Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and addressed the challenges that the earlier systems faced (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013). President Bush mentioned the topic on 2004, and afterwards, President Obama reinvested in EHR for it to meet the required technological standards and improve its efficiency.
One of the main goals of implementing Electronic Health Record system is to improve the safety of patients through ensuring the correct medication. The other objective is to fully and effectively support and deliver efficient healthcare services. Further, EHR’s another goal is to facilitate the management of chronic conditions through sharing of information with all health care providers (Butts & Rich 2012).
In 2010, President Obama signed a comprehensive document on reforms of healthcare. It involved a law that would make the health coverage more reachable and affordable for most of the Americans through lowering its cost but improving quality. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act included launching of incentive programs that would ensure the EHR system was fully implemented and upgraded to improve the patient's care. The President’s Obama administration has put extra efforts to make the Electronic Health Record system succeed through the Act of American Recovery and Reinvestment. In 2012, the Health Department of America spent billions of USD on the Electronic Health Information systems (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014). The Administration has also provided more money for the health programs of the government including Medicare and Medicaid that boosts the implementation of the Electronic Health Records systems by the hospitals and the doctors as well.
Student’s Facility’s Plan
My facility’s plan on the management of the health records involves using an Electronic Health Record system that will be efficient and reliable in replacement of the current paper records. The Electronic Health Record should be affordable and able to support the provision of the required care for patients. The first step of implementation of EHR is assessing the foundation of the system to determine whether the latter is ready for the desired changes. The facility has introduced classes for all the staff members to teach them about information technology. The hospital has also secured the required gadgets to make sure that it has quick access to the Internet. The process of organizing the administrative tools is carried out to assure efficiency. The second step is to plan the approach. The facility has hired professionals who are evaluating the task forces that will be eliminated, the new task forces that will be introduced and how the currently necessary task force will be sustained (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013). The third step is to upgrade to a certified EHR system. The hospital has already consulted a company which deals with the development of computer programs. The process of making sure that no details are left when creating the program is carried out when the patients’ records and information of how the office operates have already been provided. Transfer of the paper records has also been agreed upon, and it will be done by the experts of the company.
The fourth step is conduction of training and implementation of the system. The nurses and doctors are undergoing the training process hence after the completion of the development of the program the implementation will proceed without hitches. The next step is achieving meaningful use, and the members of the staff are getting trained on how to use the system effectively. The needed financial resources for the completion and implementation of the new system have already been set aside. The sixth step is to ensure that the Electronic Health Record system is improved continuously to maintain its high quality and efficiency. As the technology is evolving and new issues may arise the company that is responsible for development of the new electronic system will also be the one to make future changes in case there will be a need for improvement.
Discussion of Meaningful Use
Meaningful use can be defined as the use of specialized Electronic Health Record system to boost the level of efficiency, ensure patient safety, reduce health disparities and improve the registered quality level. In addition, it also requires the use of the EHR system to register improved results concerning the whole populations care and management. Similarly, it is the duty of EHR to keep patient’s information secure before and after updating it in the system (Grace, 2013).
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The facility is in a position to attain the meaningful use. To begin with, there are enough financial resources to buy all the needed electronic gadgets that are needed for the implementation process. The company developing the system has already been alerted on the safety of the patient’s information thus the electronic system is expected to be secure. Additionally, the members of the staff are being trained to use the system in the most efficient way. However, there are possible challenges that are likely to occur and hinder the meaningful use. To ensure there is no problem that will hamper the meaningful use the information system experts will be available in the hospital for the first month to check whether the program meets the requirements. The facility is, therefore, able to achieve the meaningful use because the financial resources needed for implementation are available. IT experts are also available thus they will supervise the process. What needs to be done is to ensure that every staff member is able to use the system while the experts from the information technology company are supposed to tackle every problem that will arise.
EHRs and Patient Confidentiality
The HIPAA rules define the national standards that the health systems must meet to ensure the privacy of the patient information as it flows through the systems. The individuals have the rights to know how their information is being used while still allowing it to be stored in the electronic systems. The big threat to the confidentiality of the patient information is posed by the members of the staff who could use the patients’ personal data for fraud activities, for example, a doctor can blackmail a person by threatening to expose the information of the patient on public media The other challenge is leakage of the passwords to people who are not staff members which will lead to the illegal access to the information system (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014).
The facility has defined rules and regulations as well as heavy penalties that will govern the use of the record systems by the staff members. Anyone of the personnel who will use the patient information for manipulation will be taken to court and judged with the rules that govern privacy. To prevent unauthorized people from accessing the Electronic Health Record system, the surveillance system that will monitor everyone who will be accessing the record system will be installed (Grace, 2013).
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In conclusion, implementation of the Electronic Health Record systems can improve the patient care and services provided amongst other benefits. Cases such as prescription of wrong medication will be reduced while keeping the history records of the health problems will help in giving the most appropriate medication to the patients. However, the confidentiality of the patient information should be ensured at all cost.
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