Electronic Health Records
Health technologies, such as Electronic Health Records, are primarily developed to solve health problems and to improve the patients’ quality of care. The conventional method of recording patient information requires tons of paper, time, money and patience. Paper health care records are widely used but still come with a variety of issues. The costs of printing, managing, updating, and storing these records can add up quickly. They also pose an inconvenience for doctors and patients when information needs to be transferred between offices. Electronic Health Records (EHR) will eliminate the need for transporting, faxing, or mailing information to other doctors. “There are also other benefits of using an EHR over paper charts including legibility of notes, accessibility of charts, transcription cost savings, space savings, and the ability to have lab and X–ray results returned automatically” (Benefits of using). Most importantly, as long as the cost to healthcare providers is high, the prices faced by patients will be high. The current system in use is in desperate need of an update to an electronic format, much like those used by many other industries.
The Electronic Health Record (EHRs) or Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is a specialized system that managing patient health information from all aspect. This system is highly efficient in healthcare setting, which leads to improving the quality of care, communication and decision-making.
The study showed that the (EMR) reduced the medical error related to medication and allergy documentation. In addition, EMR can decrease the cost and provide information that is more accurate.
Computerized Health Records will allow access to patient records anywhere and at anytime, which can be extremely useful in emergencies. The information is very similar to that of paper records however, Computerized Health Records are more accurate in that they can be quickly updated and accessed. In addition to this, issues with illegible handwriting, which doctors are notorious for, will no longer exist. Computerized Health Records can easily be printed which should satisfy people who still strongly prefer paper health records over electronic ones.
The implantation of the healthcare system in Saudi had three phases:
· implementation: involving the installation of new databases and application programs and the use of new procedures
· Maintenance: refers to the degree to which an EHR system is looked after so that it functions properly
· So improvement refers to any subsequent installation or physical change made to an EHR system.
Barriers that delayed the adoption and successful implementation of health information systems and electronic medical records are:
· Beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of healthcare professionals such as the ability to learn over time,
· Computer knowledge and typing proficiency,
· Motivation and personal initiative to explore and use the systems and user-developed strategies and workarounds to solve minor difficulties
· The resistance of physicians and other healthcare professionals to accept and use EMR.
· Cost of the system.
· Limited in training session and staff support.
So basically the barriers will be:
· Human Barriers (Healthcare Professionals)
· Financial Barriers (Money and Funding)
· Legal and Regulatory Barriers (Laws and Policies)
· Organizational Barriers (Hospital Management)
· Technical Barriers (Computers and IT)
· Professional Barriers (Working at Hospitals)
Suggestion to solve it:
· Improving the awareness of the importance and benefits of using EMRs by focusing on the topic through a multi-phase approach.
· Improving the knowledge of using EMRs through formal training during different levels of medical education and training.
· EMRs should be developed and implemented as a course or a subject of the formal undergraduate as well as postgraduate medical education programs
· Implemented by the ministry of health and its formal channels for all healthcare professionals at all types of hospitals and healthcare organizations.
· Develop hospital orientation and training programs on EMRs
· Allocating the proper funding and enough capitals investments
· Designing the annual budgets of the hospitals to capacitate the high operation and maintenance costs of EMRs
· Conducting feasibility studies that show the benefits versus costs of implementing and using EMRs,
· Proper planning of hospital resources in the phases of EMRs implementation
· Hospitals should start developing their policies and procedures that control the use of data, information and EMRs internally, including singing privacy and confidentiality agreements and consents.
· Users should educate, trained and committed to using EMRs with caution not to disclose or abuse the information otherwise they will put themselves into a liability, accountability, and legal problems.
· Sometimes it is essential for hospitals to redesign their medical and administrative workflow to match with EMRs specifications.
· Implementation of EMRs should be controlled by a time frame and project management schedules not to let the EMRs implementation take more than expected time.
· Hospital management should develop their experience choose, implement and evaluate EMRs and their performance over time.
· Hospitals should check for an installed live model of the system in another hospital to evaluate the system while in the production phase.
· System protection and monitoring should be one of the priorities of the hospitals.
· Hospital management should develop a strategic plan for the adoption, implementation and future development of EMRs.
· Hospital management should provide necessary initial and continuous training for hospital staff on how to best use EMRs and HIS.
· To ensure that HIS and EMRs vendors and commercial providers are supplying hospitals with the proper system documentation, user manuals and guidelines for using and troubleshooting EMRs
· We have to make sure that computers and networks are working fine – regarding hardware – and that they have fewer maintenance problems
· It is essential, for the healthcare professionals as users, to make the system’s interface design more friendly and understandable,
· Using data standards is an essential step in validating data on the systems and consequently crucial for the quality, accuracy, and reliability of such source.
· Improving healthcare professionals’ support to EMRs through increasing their participation and involvement in the stages of systems development, systems implementation, and deployment.
· Improving motivation of healthcare professionals to learn and train on using EMRs by providing them with direct and indirect incentives, including overtime payments,
· We should also provide enough time suitable and convenient for healthcare professionals to learn and train on using EMRs.
· Conducting training programs for healthcare professionals to educate them on how to take new EMRs responsibilities and accountabilities, so they would better understand their part of the process.
· Nurses, physicians, therapists, case managers and other clinical staff will be using the EHR system frequently and extensively.
· The front office staff and office manager are essential stakeholders in the EHR selection process because they are responsible for inputting the demographic
· The billing department is essential to your EHR selection process because, without the billing department, your practice will not get paid
· The administration and board members of the practice will be essential stakeholders because they will make critical financial and operational decisions regarding the EHR project.
Disadvantages of electronic records
· High startup costs
· Substantial learning curve
· Confidentiality and security issues
· Lack of standardized terminology, system architecture, and indexing
I believe eliminating paper records and switching to Computerized Health Records will minimize errors of illegibility and various other human errors as well as costs. It will allow doctors, patients and providers to have quick and easy access to patients’ health records. Computerized Health Records are much safer than paper records because the risk of lost or destroyed records can be greatly reduced—they are virtually indestructible. This will allow doctors to treat patients better and diagnose them faster. Doctors can easily and effectively treat patients without worrying about the effects of certain medication and treatments. In case of an emergency, it will be easier and less stressful on the patient and doctors. It will also be less time-consuming for both doctors and patients.
In conclusion, the benefits of Computerized Health Records far outweigh the disadvantages. With Computerized Health Records, we can essentially save time, money, and lives. Even today, we can see technology playing an important role in healthcare in general. It only makes sense to change to Computerized Health Records which will make access to healthcare records easier, faster and more efficient.
Alkraiji, A., Jackson, T., & Murray, I. (2013). Barriers to the widespread adoption of health data standards: An exploratory qualitative study in tertiary healthcare organizations in Saudi Arabia. Journal of Medical Systems, 37(2), 1-13. doi:10.1007/s10916-012-9895-2
Boonstra, A., Versluis, A., & Vos, J. F. J. (2014). Implementing electronic health records in hospitals: a systematic literature review. BMC Health Services Research, 14, 370. http://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-14-370
Hasanain, R., Vallmuur, K., and Clark. M,. (2015). Electronic Medical Record Systems in Saudi Arabia: Knowledge and Preferences of Healthcare Professionals. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries. 9(1). P: 23-31.
Kuo, K., Liu, C., & Ma, C. (2013). An investigation of the effect of nurses’ technology readiness on the acceptance of mobile electronic medical record systems. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 13(1), 88. doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-88