For centuries, healthcare systems have relied on paper-based records, and the gradual transition towards computerized systems has been taking place for at least two decades in western healthcare systems. Nevertheless, the use of computerized systems in healthcare has not been widespread as the case of other sectors such as transportation, finance, retail industries and manufacturing. In addition, computerized systems implemented in healthcare systems have been used primarily for administrative functions instead of clinical practices. Deltev & Berner (2007) considers Electronic Medical Records (EMR) as a significant prerequisite for the implementation of computerized health information systems. Deltev & Berner (2007) define EMRs as a form of computerized medical record implemented to facilitate health care delivery. EMRs are a component of an independent health information system that allows medical personnel to store, retrieve, and modify health records. According to Greenhalgh et al. (2009), EMRs are central towards the effective implementation of computerized health information systems and modern technologies in healthcare such as decision support systems. Irrespective of the potential benefits of using EMRs, paper-based records are still the prevalent means of recording patient data in most healthcare institutions and practices in the United States. This paper outlines the pros and cons of EMRs and takes a personal position on the issue that EMRs are required to enhance the quality of medical care. In addition, the paper outlines a resolution to the issue and implications for master’s prepared nurses.
This paper reviewed the pros and cons of electronic medical records to advocate for the transition towards the use of electronic medical records. The pros of EMRs discussed in the essay are: the elimination of medical errors, enhanced security and safety, and cost efficiency because of data consolidation. The cons of EMRs are possible privacy threats, lack of standardization since EMR is an emerging concept, enormous implementation costs, and loss of human oversight. A critical review of the pros and cons pointed out that even with the apparent drawbacks, the move from the paper records to electronic records are likely to increase the efficiency and safety of patient record management and enhance the quality of healthcare delivery. The identified resolutions on the issue include the participation and sufficient training of medical personnel on EMRs and reducing the cost of implementation in order to sensitize healthcare organizations to adopt EMRs.
This paper should focus on implementing Electronic Medical Records into a large organization with multiple facilities that span multiple time zones. the EMR should be inclusive of all the business processes typically encountered in a complex healthcare organization. The paper should be a complete business case analysis of such a decision. This includes but not limited to introduction of a new idea, role of Information management and IT in evaluating and prioritizing the idea, business process reengineering needed to justify implementing the EMR, the needed return on investment for such a decision, and the role of portfolio management. This paper should utilize resources from recent (2009 or sooner) peer reviewed articles.
Read Case Study # 3, Integrating Electronic Medical Records and Disease Management at Dryden Family Medicine, found in your text. Then, in a well-written paper, address the following concepts and questions:
Irrespective of the numerous advantages, EMRs have some drawbacks. The first significant drawback of EMRs is the high costs. Deltev & Berner (2007) reports that electronic record management systems are extremely costly to acquire, and is this is the significant barrier for implementing EMRs on clinical practices. The second disadvantage of electronic health records is the potential privacy threat. The high levels of accessibility and portability of EMRs also tend to increase the risk of unauthorized access or data theft. Nevertheless, the Health Information and Accessibility Act requires that healthcare institutions to adopt adequate security measures to guarantee information of security of patient data. The third disadvantage of EMRs is the potential loss of human oversight. Greenhalgh et al. (2009) believes that technology advancements, especially in automation, serve to eliminate human intervention and management among medical personnel. However, it is evident that well-trained personnel have the responsibility of overseeing and ensuring that EMRs are functioning optimally. Another drawback of EMRs is the potential lack of standardization (Deltev & Berner, 2007). This is because EMRs are still a new concept, implying that standardization in terms of efficiency, productivity and quality are not yet feasible. However, the continuous advancements in technology and service levels will eliminate the concerns associated with this issue.
To broadly examine the potential health and financial benefits of health information technology (HIT), this paper compares health care with the use of IT in other industries. It estimates potential savings and costs of widespread adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems, models important health and safety benefits, and concludes that effective EMR implementation and networking could eventually save more than $81 billion annually—by improving health care efficiency and safety—and that HIT-enabled prevention and management of chronic disease could eventually double those savings while increasing health and other social benefits. However, this is unlikely to be realized without related changes to the health care system.
Paper-based record management systems also have their advantages; however, it is anticipated that healthcare practices will continually migrate from paper-based systems towards electronic medical records. In summarizing the aforementioned pros and cons of EMRs, it is essential to take into account the following critical points. The pros of EMRs include elimination of medical errors, enhanced security and safety, and cost efficiency because of data consolidation. The cons of EMRs include potential privacy threats, lack of standardization because EMR is a new concept, enormous implementation costs, and loss of human oversight. A critical analysis of the pros and cons reveals that even with the perceived drawbacks, the migration from the paper-based records towards electronic records are likely to increase the efficiency and safety of patient record management and enhance the quality of healthcare delivery. Therefore, EMRs will guarantee both doctor productivity and patient safety. In addition, the implementation of electronic health records paves way for the adoption of other modern technologies in healthcare. Milewski & Anurag (2009) assert that medicine is a field comprising of wide knowledge base and electronic health records comes in handy as an effective method of storing and offering instant access to medical data. The use of EMR goes beyond mere storage and retrieval of clinical data to facilitate other clinical practices such as diagnosis of patients and examining the body tissues, and monitoring the patient progress and response to medication. All these point out the significance of incorporating electronic records in healthcare practices.
The paper has identified and discussed the pros and cons of electronic medical records. The pros of EMRs include elimination of medical errors, enhanced security and safety, and cost efficiency because of data consolidation. The cons of EMR include potential privacy threats, lack of standardization because EMR is a new concept, enormous implementation costs, and loss of human oversight. The manuscript makes a case for the utilization of EMRs to guarantee patient safety and productivity of medical personnel, which in turn translates to high quality healthcare delivery. The resolutions on the issue include the involvement and adequate training of medical personnel about EMRs and reducing the cost of implementation in order to sensitize healthcare organizations to adopt EMRs.