Electronic Medical Record Management: Expectations, Issues, and Challenges

2447 words (10 pages) Essay in Information Systems

08/02/20 Information Systems Reference this

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Introduction

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are a place where all of a patient’s information concerning their health and well-being can be found. In an EHR, health records are created and managed in digital formats.  These records can contain all the medical history including the patient’s name, operations, hospital stays, medications, past diagnostic follow-ups, laboratory results, radiology reports, and any other important information about the patient’s health. It is a secure and reliable source of the patient’s information where health records can be shared between doctors that are of miles apart with just a few clicks of a mouse.

In the past, there has been an increase in the number of patients that are turning to website resources and social media sites for their health information or their illnesses.

A patient’s information used to be based on paper records where the doctor or facility had to write down everything about the patient’s health. Some of the information that the doctor or facility had was some times not complete or not written down in the patient’s information.  By getting enough patient information from EHR systems patients and doctors are able to have full access to all the health records so both the patient, doctor, and facility are all well informed about the health records. Some of the older or traditional medical records may have restrictions in allowing a patient to see their health conditions. An EHR gathers all the health data, that is generated by different sources such as different doctors or hospitals at different times, then the EHR shares this data with other healthcare systems. By sharing the healthcare information between providers, doctors, clinics and hospitals using EHR this has led to improved outcomes of care for the patient and reduced clinical errors.

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The success of the health care system depends on maintaining the patient’s trust. When patients lose their trust in the privacy of their health information kept by the providers, doctor or facility it can lead to some dangerous steps including patients not wanting to give out important health information, and can even culminate in consumer’s refusal to the EHR system.

Some unresolved issues are how access should be granted and how new systems should be designed.

Properly designed EHR systems eliminate the need for facilities to have to write down messages on paper and this can help to organize the physician’s workflow resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. The use of EHR systems has helped the healthcare providers with the exchanging laboratory results, scans reports and it has improved the communication with patients. A well-implemented health care system will reduce the inefficiencies, and promote better health care for the patient. EHR standards are one of the best building blocks for health care reform and an important component that supports the efficient exchange of information between providers, doctors, and health care organizations.

By having efficient healthcare delivery they can care for a patient without the wasteful use of resources. Over testing and prescribing things for a patient can be reduced by the EHR’s ability to transfer all of the patient’s information automatically between health care facilities. Automatic reminders can also help to reduce errors, improve productivity, and benefit a patient’s care.

The ability of the EHR system is to share information electronically providing the best quality in healthcare management for each patient. The goals of the EHR system include providing a secure, reliable, and efficient way to register, gather and process all the data information related to the patient and his or her health. It supports actions related to practice and patient treatment. The  EHR holds a tremendous ability of benefits for healthcare systems and can enhance how a patients information is documented and organized. It is very important to study and find out what the current issues regarding EHR have to make it more efficient and useful on a daily basis.

Background: The EHR information has several implications in the decision making of the process in each patient’s care and their health policies. As patient records are digitized, the basic right that is most challenged is the patient’s privacy. Patient privacy is very important. Some other barriers to using the EHR is the hesitation on the part of the physicians to the EHR usage.

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Consumers are in fear of misuse of their health details by authorized personnel. They expect you to use proper privacy and security in making rules to define a patient’s rights for disclosure of his or her health information. With accidental damage, intentional misuse, and even malware, hospitals have reported data loss and illegal incidents. As more hospitals go digital with medical records, the frequency of data breaches is rising which shows poor data security that can affect a huge number of people within the health care system.

With the use of EHR software that has been a significant impact on the productivity of healthcare providers. Healthcare providers have certain legal and moral obligations for securely exchanging health information about each patient. Unfortunately, some physicians are provided with minimal training for this goal and it makes it harder for the physicians to exchange the health care of the patient.

Consumer Issues: Electronic health records have increased the convenience and easiness of healthcare administration. However, some of the consumers are in constant fear about the integrity and privacy of their health information.

Consumer Expectations: Population-based surveys suggest that patients like online access to their medical records and email communication with their doctor. Patients would like to be able to have access to their data and hiding some of their data from health care physicians. The security settings should be easy for the patient to handle to ensure the best healthcare benefits. Previous research on patient views has identified three different factors that influence an individual’s decisions to allow their health information to be used. The sensitivity of the data, the nature of a patient’s interaction, the trust in the data recipient, and the extent to which the individuals will feel more informed about how their data will be used.

Privacy Issues: Security and privacy are the main concerns with strong legal and ethical implications. Privacy breaches in health systems along with conflicting health privacy laws have resulted in a decrease in patients trust that their health information privacy will be protected. If privacy rights for sensitive health information are weaker than the privacy rights of individuals for less sensitive non-health data then public trust in the health care delivery system cannot be maintained.

Physician’s acceptance of EHR systems is a big factor for a successful implementation. Physicians resist technology due to quality issues, workflow challenges, and lack of support with other issues. This leads to high costs and the ability to move easily between screens. Physicians feel as if the EHR interferes with the way they organize their thought processes on patient care. The challenges in EHR  by physicians have strengthened efforts to improve the efficiency of healthcare through the knowledge of the material that is being used. Providing access to medical information between different providers enables the health care professionals from different organizations to function as a group, and helps to prevent double or over testing which can cut costs in the healthcare system.

Conclusion

Electronic Health Records contain medical data or information about an individual in electronic format. EHR systems are the software programs that health care service providers, hospitals, and clinics use to maintain EHR information of each patient. The main point for reviewing consisted of an online database and articles. This research paper focused on expectations, issues, and challenges faced by the consumers and physicians in the implementation of EHR. The work identified the main issues concerning consumers as data breaches, privacy issues, and medical identity theft. Low productivity, overwhelmed alerts and EHR reluctance are the major physician issues. Solving the issues will pave the way for a remarkable contribution in EHR development process.

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