Communication and Information Technology Paper
Electronic Medical Records is regarded as the technology that allows sharing of information between patients and doctors. In the web based medical database file, doctors add data such as research, assessment and reports, prescription, laboratory results among others while the patient and other doctors can access this information from anywhere in the world (Carter, 2001). In essence, the clinical record gives the health history of a patient and the medical assistance given. This information is integrated among the health care professionals and is available each instance a patient visits a health care centre.
The basic concept of an Electronic Medical Record is to contain as much information about a patient as possible. Some information available in the clinical record are sourced from the patient’s identification, either a heath card or patient master index, a created clinical record, departmental clinical systems such as laboratories, Health Promotion and Sickness Prevention Programs, Complementary health care provision, Health Centers’ working in conjunction with national health services and Electronic Prescribing among others (Carter, 2001).
Initially Electronic Medical Records were introduced to reduce on the medication errors and mistakes that were responsible for many deaths in hospitals in the United States. President Bush, in the Union’s address, stated that the nation’s health care problems could only be solved by health information technology. Therefore, Med Records Alert (MRA), a health-care information technology company headed by Dr. Barry Libin was introduced (Rudy, 2006). The company consisted of a diverse expertise of attorneys, social workers, physicians, computer scientists and health care strategists who came up with an electronic medical-record program that would connect hospitals and physicians to patients’ information.
Electronic Medical Records are effective since incase of a medical emergency, advance directives and critical medical information are available to the health-care provider immediately irrespective of their location. When an accident or a medical emergency occurs, the news can be communicated to the authorized individuals immediately and the location of where the patient is being treated given. EMR also saves on time because when a patient visits a new hospital, a physician or a health care provider, medical information is readily available and therefore there is no need to delay appointments or conduct other laboratory and imaging tests or procedures.
Some of the advantages of the EMR system include efficient and faster treatments and diagnosis, enhanced quality of care, and is better since information from other available and viable sources are at hand. Therefore, the data trail using EMR is more convenient since there is no paperwork and it is easier and faster to key-in information than writing (Rudy, 2006). EMR also makes workflow and procedures such as medical audits smoother and faster since information is readily available. EMR saves on space because it eliminates paperwork that takes a lot of office space since medical records are always relevant. Since the medical history is available, health errors are avoided since a doctor can see the prescription, tests and procedures done by other physicians and thus can avoid duplication or mistakes such as cases involving allergies.
The disadvantages of the EMR include higher costs since there is need to buy software and constantly upgrade it. There is also the need to train personnel on how the new system works. The other challenges include technology factors since the system needs to be integrated as widely as possible to ensure its applicability, in addition to keeping the information safe and securely. Legal matters mainly concerned with knowing who should access the information are also a major challenge. Although EMR has its disadvantages, its advantages outweigh disadvantages in the long-term. On a short-term trial, a lot of investment is required in EMR system to buy software as well as train individuals on its use, but such an investment would result in greater savings to clinicians, patients and health insurance companies on space, paper and efficiency.
According to research, EMR is a good investment that would save many lives. However, evaluation done on the EMR implementation shows that in order for this program to be practiced throughout the globe, a lot of structural and technological procedures have to be developed. The physicians, nurses and support stuff interviewed listed some of the problems they encountered as lack of local technical support, inadequate training, and lack of readily available help incase of problems such as technical and downtime difficulties (Rudy, 2006).
One of the main challenges EMR would need to address is practicability and expansion. EMR has been proved effective on the military but connecting it to the whole world is a problem. As a recommendation, training and awareness should be done at a faster rate in order to connect all continents to EMR. Single software, or a singular computer program, should be recommended so that data can mesh and be compatible to all medical teams. A good team should be trained on how the system works so that they would provide effective training to the other medical centers’ and other necessary departments. The EMR system should also be introduced in the curriculum of medical students such that every student should be aware of how it functions before he/she should be employed in a health facility.
In conclusion, EMR is an effective program that should not be abolished in spite of its technicalities. Although it is costly to introduce, the government should sponsor and encourage all public health facilities to introduce it. Nurses, physicians and support staff should be thoroughly trained and encouraged to use the new system since it would save on time, space and would be more efficient due to lack of paperwork and unnecessary retrieval of old records.
Carter, J. H. (2001). Electronic medical records: a guide for clinicians and administrators. Brasília, DF: ACP Press
Rudy, M. (2006). Electronic medical records – tomorrow’s health care is today. Fairfield County Business Journal, 45(42), 22. Retrieved from Master FILE Premier Database