Electronic Health Records (EHRs): Pros and Cons

Effect of EHRs

An electronic health record (EHR) system assists healthcare practitioners in accessing detailed clients’ information over time and across health care settings. The information in the EHR includes metadata, medical history, symptoms, medications, immunizations, diagnoses, laboratory results, and reports from diagnostic tests like X-rays. The EHR system will improve the hospital’s monitoring system and data reporting methods. The organization of the personal data in the EHR system is efficient and can only get transferred through a court order (Anderson & Aydin, 2005).

Implementation process of EHR is very expensive and results in an increase of an organization’s operations costs. The organization should be ready in handling the pressures that originate from the implementation of an EHR system. It will be a challenging moment for the management team because it will require to recruit, train, and retain experienced and qualified individuals who can use EHRs effectively. The implementation process creates strain on the available resources and staff members of the organization. Proper planning will be required in order to meet the intended purpose of implementing EHR in the organization. The management team has the mandate of performing assessment and workflow analysis in order the identify changes that are present due to implementation of EHR (Anderson & Aydin, 2005).

A typical diagram of an EHR
A typical diagram of an EHR.

The diagram illustrates the various applications of an EHR system within a healthcare facility. For example, it shows how mammogram test outcomes are improved through the use of EHR.

Pros and Cons of EHR

The pros of EHR have improved patient safety due to improved measurements of patient outcomes, increased continuity of healthcare. An improved decision making process has patient outcomes because healthcare providers make clinical decisions based on evidence based data. This has also resulted in providing evidence-based healthcare (Wager et al., 2013). The cons of EHR are high implementation cost, privacy and security issues of patients’ information. The data is too much to get appropriate security measures. The data may require backup due to chances of breakdown of computers. EHRs may malpractices in the health sector resulting in costly lawsuits (Wager et al., 2013).

Privacy and/or Security of EHR and HIPAA rules

The patients’ information can be shared with other organizations if the computers have been interlinked. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) aims at protecting access to patients’ information by unauthorized persons within healthcare facilities. The HIPAA rules are based on safety of patients’ data that are safeguarded by login details such as unique passwords. The rules apply to the EHR system that will be adopted by the organization. Access to healthcare information will be handled in a manner that patients will be respected and no information will used without their permission. The information in EHRs can only be transferred or shared under authorization of law. HIPAA advocates for all hospitals using EHRs to install “audit trail” so that it can be easy to keep records of all the changes taking place in the system.

References

Anderson, J. G., & Aydin, C. (Eds.). (2005). Evaluating the organizational impact of health care information systems. New York, NY: Springer.

Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. P. (2013). Health care information systems: a practical approach for health care management. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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