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Electronic Medical Records Essay

Electronic Medical Records Essay

EMRs, or Electronic Medical Records, have been continually developed and improved over the course of the last fifty years or so.  In history of electronic medical records began in the 1960s with the “problem-oriented” medical record that focused mainly on clinical data.  Before this, medical records typically consisted of a doctors diagnoses and the treatment that was provided with no other details.   This model provided a more effective means of communication among members of the healthcare team while facilitating the coordination or preventive care and maintenance (Net Health, 2016).  In the 1970’s the first true electronic medical record was developed but it was mainly utilized in government hospitals due to the cost of computers at that time.  In the 1990s when personal computer became more affordable and the internet began to emerge, more and more private practice and clinics began to utilize an electronic record system.  Today, medical records throughout the health care industry are becoming increasingly paperless making patient’s records more accessible than ever before (Net Health, 2016).  With the accessibility of records comes challenges; security is the biggest concern and challenge for all those who use electronic medical records systems.  Electronic Medical Records Essay Challenges in this area remain and both the public and private sectors are focused on strengthening the security of medical records at all access and transmission points (Net Health, 2016).  Another major concern comes from the providers who are not entirely satisfied with their current electronic records system.  Many of the systems are created with a one size fits all mentality when different facilities and organizations may have very different needs within their system.

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            There are many benefits when implementing an EMR system at a health care facility or organization.  Electronic Medical Records Essay Improved quality and cost effectiveness are two of the major influencing factors when organizations chose to implement an electronic system.  The IT manager at Pioneers Memorial, Jesse Silva, sat down with me to discuss the implementation of their system, what led up to that decision and how the implementation has affected the hospital as a whole.  Silva stated, “The decision to switch to an electronic system was a no brainer, organized records, easily accessible, less errors, better care for the patients and more simplified billing were some of the factors that influenced our decision but making that decision become a reality was a lot harder than we had realized.”  EMRs have proven to be a critical tool for improving health care, but even with that knowledge, there is still resistance from providers and staff members. “Many board members were resistant because of the initial expense in purchasing the new system and updating our existing equipment… we also received a lot of resistance and concern from the providers. They had concerns about the amount of time it would take to train staff members, errors that would be made when rolling out the new system.  There were also expressed concerns about transferring records and the reliability of the system as well as patient security” (J. Silva, 2019). 

            One of the main obstacles faced when implementing a new EMR system is using the system to its full capacity.  Even if a practice has ‘implemented’ a new EHR system, staff members can find ways to continue to use old systems or avoid using the EHR system effectively (A. Vant, 2019).  Resistant staff members may sometimes write things down instead of charting electronically, creating double work as they would later need to go into the electronic record to chart what was written down.  One reason for implementing such a system is to increase efficiency within the organization, but when the system is not utilized as intended it defeats the purpose and creates double work.  “A major obstacle we faced when implementing the new system was actually getting people to use it.  Many of the nurses and providers would do things the old way out of habit, while others were using both methods.  The first month of using the electronic system was a battle, but once people got on board and got used to it, we really started to see the benefits of the system” (J. Silva, 2019).  Trying to get staff comfortable with a new system can be challenging, communication and education or training in this situation is critical to a successful transition.  With proper comprehensive training prior to implementation and ensuring the staff of the benefits of using the new system, a facility is much more likely to have it go smoothly.  “We have been using our current system for the past 4 years and things are going well.  Patient satisfaction has increased, we are much more productive, and we have decreased billing errors significantly.  We are definitely looking at an upgraded system in the near future that includes more ways to be integrated with other systems as well as improve communication between providers treating the same patients, but for now we are happy with what we have” (J. Silva, 2019). Electronic Medical Records Essay

            Overall electronic medical records can have a great and positive impact on any health care facility or organization.  Electronic Medical Records can improve efficiency and access to patient records in a practice (Varkey, 2010).  Pioneers Memorial has experienced the benefits of the EMR first hand and continues to look forward to more enhancements as they continue to upgrade their system over the years.  “The data that we are able to obtain through the system has allowed us to not only get a better picture of what is going on with the patients individually but it also helps us to see what is going on with the hospital and what improvements we can make on the administrative level to continually improve the hospital which will help improve overall care for the patient.” (J. Silva, 2019). Electronic Medical Records Essay

References

Varkey, P. (2010). Medical Quality Management: Theory and Practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and               Bartlett.

NetHealth (July 24, 2016).  What is the History of Electronic Medical Records? Retrieved from:            https://www.nethealth.com/a-history-of-electronic-medical-records-infographic/

Vant, A (April 2, 2019).  The Top Three HER Implementation Challenges Faced by Practices.         Retrieved from: https://www.ehrinpractice.com/the-top-three-ehr-implementation-             challenges-faced-by-practices-688.html

Silva, J (July 11, 2019). Personal Interview

 Electronic Medical Records Essay

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