Impacts of EHRs in the Health Sector
Technological advancements are unstoppable and unpredictable. All sectors of humanity have experienced the effects occasioned by the advancements of technology. The health sector is one of the sectors that have experienced the effects of technological advancements. Electronic Health Records (EHR) is one of the elements that emerged in the advent of technological advancements in the health sector. Imperatively, the use of electronic data storage or EHR is very practical in the utility of space.
The practicability in space utility transpires because the quantity of data stored using EHR platforms is large as opposed to the use of paper documentation. Additionally, retrieval of data is easy and timely, an element that increases the essence of EHRs in health care. The advent of EHR and its application has led to a range of benefits, which include improved quality of service and promotion of safety. On the other hand, EHRs have also initiated several challenges that comprise limited privacy, breach of confidentiality, complexities in decision-making, and access to information by adolescents. It is within this backdrop that the essay assesses the impacts of EHRs in the health sector.
The Rationale for Choosing the Topic and Its Essence
EHRs have become very important in modern health facilities. Medical practitioners handling contemporary individuals need competencies that relate to technological advancements. Miliard (2016) elucidates that to effectively execute their services and apply the concepts advanced by EHR medical practitioners should be in line with the trendy characteristics of the technology. Medical practitioners must understand that the healthcare sector is susceptible to changes advanced by the trends in technology.
Principally, EHRs have played a dominant role in minimizing several issues related to the use of files in saving patient information (Robichau, 2014; Polverini, 2015). Currently, patients can access their medical information in various parts as they engage in their daily engagements provided they have the passcode to the information along with their respective medical practitioners. As such, medical conditions become a subject of close monitoring and control becomes timely in case of a complication.
Application of Nursing Informatics and HIT Knowledge in Developing the Assignment
The skills relevant to Nursing Informatics (NI) and Health Information Technology (HIT) played an instrumental role in the development of the assignment. Since EHR utilizes technology, knowledge of information technology and nursing informatics is very important in the development of an assignment that is clear and explicit (Bailey, 2016). It is vital to assert that Nursing Informatics and HIT are aspects that govern the application of technology in healthcare facilities, and thus, a good understanding of the concepts is core in the development of a well-designed assignment.
Positive Impacts of EHR
Promotes Safety in Healthcare
Fundamentally, EHR is efficient in promoting safety. The use of keywords, passwords, and other customized technologies improves the ability of EHR in promoting the safety of data. The increase in cases of cybercrime and hacking implies that the stakeholders involved in the healthcare information technology need to continually research the ways that minimize issues related to illegal access to personal data. It is paramount to assert that the safety and privacy of patient information is one of the vital components that form the focus of EHRs (Polverini, 2015). Some of the legislations that strive to improve EHRs capability to promote safety include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Fundamentally, HIPAA ensures that health centers store information with utmost care and confidentiality and ensure that backup is there in case of power outages and technical breakdowns. Robichau (2014) and Kelley (2016) elucidate that to ensure that medical centers adhere to their safety requirements HIPAA imposes penalties on health care centers that do not comply with their regulations.
With bodies such as HIPAA in place and the use of security and safety passwords, it is to state that EHRs have the requisite potential to promote safety (Brennan & Bakken, 2015). However, it is fundamental for medical practitioners especially those in the HIT department to exercise vigilance and continue engaging in research so that they match the technologies present in medical centers with those prevalent in the dynamic society.
Improved Service Quality in Health Care
EHR is very instrumental in improving service delivery and the quality of medical attention that patients receive from the health centers. To improve the quality of service delivery in medical facilities, health care practitioners need to adapt and utilize various EHR procedures. The need to adapt and utilize various EHR procedures and options stems from its ability to address issues related to service delivery and data storage in nursing and patient care (Bailey, 2016).
Since information stored using the EHR platform is easy to retrieve, nurses can handle several patients and address their various issues swiftly and effectively. Moreover, cases of lost or misplaced files have become minimal because the information is stored in online platforms or inside networked computers. The ability to network computers implies that practitioners can source information from various parts of the hospital. The overall result associated with the advent of EHR in medical centers is an efficient system that demonstrates a satisfactory quality of patient care and service delivery.
Increased Patient Participation as well as Accuracy, Efficiency, and Reliability
The advent of EHRs has led to an increase in the level of patient participation. Unlike in the past when patients could only access their medical information through a visit to the facility, patients can now access their information through online platforms that safeguard their information. Kelley (2016) explains that the implication of increased access to medical information is an increase in participation from patients.
Currently, patients can contribute and share their information with medical practitioners in a more in-depth and elaborate manner, an aspect that is core in improved service delivery. Additionally, the advent of technology has also increased the amount of information that is available concerning various ailments. Through their increased interactions with medical practitioners, the patients can share information from these online sources and ascertain whether they are credible.
Accuracy, efficiency, and reliability are among the important benefits associated with EHR in healthcare. Brennan and Bakken (2015) highlight that EHR makes retrieval and access to information stored in computers or online platforms easy and efficient. Moreover, issues relating to loss or misplacement common during the era of filling diminish because the information is safe in specific sites. Accuracy of information enhances with the fact that the information stored using EHR is safe from water, fire, or wear and tear (Polverini, 2015).
Therefore, information stored is available even after several ages because it is less vulnerable to lose or distortion. The implication of safety common with the use of EHR in medical facilities is the accuracy of records and efficiency in retrieving data of particular individuals when required. Unlike in the past when patient information was stored in several files, EHR facilitates the storage of information in a single gadget, which is safe and accurate.
Negative Impacts of EHR
Illegal Access to Personal Information and Complexities in Decision-Making
Some of the drawbacks associated with the implementation and use of EHR in HIT and nursing informatics in the health sector include limited privacy, breach of confidentiality, complexities in decision-making, and access to information by adolescents. While EHRs have led to a range of positive developments in the healthcare sector, they have equally initiated several drawbacks. Several drawbacks transpire because of uncontrolled technological advancements. Drawbacks that relate to privacy revolve around the concept of confidentiality.
Healthcare practitioners usually uphold the information advanced to them by patients with utmost secrecy. As such, information of respective patients is confidential at all times. Brennan and Bakken (2015) explain that with the advent of EHR, there are instances where unwarranted individuals access patient information. Increased access to personal information transpires because the storage of information utilizes computers and online platforms. As such, hackers and cybercriminals can at times access information in the oblivion of medical practitioners or patients.
Furthermore, some medical practitioners may leave their computers without logging off thus, increasing the vulnerability of unwarranted access to personal information. In the light of these developments, which include increased cases of hacking and minimal secrecy, some patients opt out of EHRs, a scenario that compels medical practitioners to reintroduce the use of paper documentation. Kelley (2016) states that another drawback linked to the use of EHR in health facilities is the judgment imposed due to a breach of confidentiality.
Since medical practitioners need to uphold personal information at all times, there are scenarios when unwarranted individuals access the information. The drawback that takes place in the aftermath of illegal access to information relates to judgment and decision-making. In cases of unwarranted access to information, medical practitioners and other stakeholders in the health sector, become perplexed on the kind of judgment that they should provide. The complexity in judgment transpires if access to information took place during an emergency rush or because of a technical hitch.
Access to Information by Adolescents
The drawback, which concerns adolescent access to information, relates to the level of access to their medical information and the scale of confidentiality accorded to their information. The drawback takes effect because, in instances where medical practitioners deem necessary to inform the parents of particular adolescents, they breach the code of confidentiality and let their parents in on the medical information of their children.
Notably, the drawback concerns the breach and the extent of confidentiality that adolescents should have concerning the nursing code of conduct (Polverini, 2015). It is imperative to explain that although medical practitioners experienced issues with the drawback before the advent of EHR, the challenge has become more complex in the aftermath.
The introduction of EHR in the healthcare sector is very practical in the overall service delivery and nursing care. The implications of EHR are practical and are felt by nurses, patients, and the healthcare system. Efficiency, improved service delivery, enhanced access to medical attention, and minimal risks associated with healthcare are some of the implications that come along with the introduction and use of EHR and its incorporation with HIT operations. EHR operations focus on improving the quality of healthcare by ensuring that the services delivered are swift and effective.
It is important to elucidate that EHR is very instrumental in ensuring that patient data is readily available in case of repeat visits. The ease in accessing patient information helps medical practitioners to understand the diverse medical requirements of individuals and address the diversities in an advanced manner. Furthermore, in cases of emergencies, medical facilities can furnish the practitioners with requisite information concerning a particular patient, a condition that is fundamental in saving lives.
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Brennan, P., & Bakken, S. (2015). Nursing Needs Big Data and Big Data Needs Nursing. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 47(5), 477-484.
Kelley, T. (2016). Electronic Health Records for Quality Nursing & Health Care / Tiffany Kelley. Lancaster: DEStech Publications.
Miliard, M. (2016). Meaningful Use will likely End in 2016, CMS chief Andy Slavitt says. Healthcare IT News.
Polverini, P. (2015). Personalized Oral Health Care: From Concept Design to Clinical Practice. London: Springer.
Robichau, B. (2014). Healthcare Information Privacy and Security: Regulatory Compliance and Data Security in the Age of Electronic Health Records. New York: Apress Publishers.