Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a computer-based system, which allows health care providers to organize and store patients’ medical information electronically. EHR system has replaced the old paper-based record system (Carter, 2008). Thanks to the Electron Health Records system, doctors can now be able to share patients’ data easily hence improving the quality of medical care. Although EHR is a new concept, it is gaining popularity and a good number of health care centers are implementing this system, which comes with multiple benefits (Scoville and Taylor, 2005). This paper will evaluate the Electronic Health Record system and discuss how it has changed health care today.
EHR system is a technology-based program that emerged a few decades ago. The system is unique, and it has enabled other programs to work competently in health care. Other up-to-date facilities such as Decision Support System (DSS) can work effectively when combined with EHR systems (Parish, 2006). Today, the use of the Electronic Health Record system in our hospitals has no doubt improved the delivery of quality care.
How EHR has changed and why
The first EHR system was known as the Clinical Information System (CIF) and was developed in the 1960s (Fins, 2008). After using the CIF system, recording of patients’ information became easier and experts saw the need to improve the system. In the 1970s, the CIF program was developed further and the name EHR was coined. After assessing the paper-based system, researchers discovered that the EHR system was more effective since it stored multiple data. In 1991, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report recommending hospitals to use the EHR system because it had the potential to improve patients’ records (Scoville and Taylor, 2005). After extensive research of EHR, IOM released another report arguing that the use of EHR would enable medical care to be much safer (Parish, 2006).
In 2006, there was a debate regarding how EHR affected patients’ confidentiality. However, recommendations to use the EHR system for its intended purpose were proposed in 2009 under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), enabling “meaningful use” of the EHR system (Parish, 2006).
How EHR has evolved health care
The use of the EHR system has revolutionized health care by bringing efficiency, increasing safety, and ensuring higher quality care (Fins, 2008). In fact, the implementation of EHR in our hospital has come with many benefits. One of the major benefits associated with the use of EHR is that the technology enables health care providers to organize patient data (Scoville and Taylor, 2005). In particular, using EHR improves the storage of patients’ data. In addition, proper and organized storage of patients’ data makes it easier for health care providers to communicate and transfer patients’ information promptly; doctors and nurses can easily access patients’ data (Scoville and Taylor, 2005). This enables efficiency in retrieving and sharing important information regarding patients.
EHR system has revolutionized health care by improving patient safety. The use of IT in hospitals reduces potential clinical errors, especially those that are associated with drugs prescription. Properly organized patient information such as demographic data and drug alerts among other information decreases the chances of drug prescription errors. This also ensures that cases of negligence are eradicated.
Future of health care with the use of EHR
With the emergence of the electronic health record system, the future of health care seems promising. Researchers have argued that with a good and firm foundation, the Electronic Health Record system will make health care brighter in days to come (Hemelstein and Wolhandler, 2005). Because of the changing trends in technology, a combination of modern technology with robust infrastructures will enable EHR to improve health care, patients’ safety, and bring efficiency in fields of medical care (Hemelstein and Wolhandler, 2005).
With improved storage of patients’ data, health care providers will have great access to patients’ information, enabling easy, accurate, and faster diagnosis (Hemelstein and Wolhandler, 2005). In addition to this, patients will easily access their information and other medical records via the internet. This will help patients to increase transparency since they will be able to share their information with relatives in a more secure way.
Since technology is changing rapidly and the internet is becoming easily accessed from any point in the world, EHR will reduce the cost of health care services. Considering that the system can store data efficiently, doctors can be able to retrieve and access patient information and history. By so doing, doctors will also be able to communicate with health care providers such as pharmacies (E-prescription). E-prescription enables doctors to send multiple prescriptions to a pharmacy so that by the time patients get there their drugs will be ready (Carter, 2008). This helps to save time and cost.
With better and developed policies regarding HER, the system will improve health care services in the future. For instance, the recently developed policies dubbed “final rule” helps to ensure that EHR meets its objective in society (Fins, 2008). With such policies, the EHR system will be more effective in meeting health care needs in modern society.
In conclusion, the EHR system is an emerging concept in health care that has brought significant changes making health care improve. One of the major benefits associated with the EHR system is improved record keeping. This has enabled communication to be faster hence reducing cost and improving general medical care. With the changing trends in technology, the future of EHR in health care seems bright.
Carter, J. (2008). Electronic health records: a guide for clinicians and administrators. Sidney: ACP press.
Fins, J. J. (2008). Web of Care: How will the electronic medical record change medicine? The Hastings Center Report, 35 (5): 36.
Hemelstein, D. U., & Wolhandler, S. (2005). Hope and Hype: Predicting the Impact Of Electronic Medical Records. Health Affairs, 24 (5):1121-1123.
Parish, C. (2006). Edging towards a brave new IT world. Nursing Standard 27 (1):15-16.
Scoville, R. & Taylor, R. (2005). Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care? Potential Health benefits, saving, and cost. Health Affairs, 24 (5): 1103-1117.