Electronic Health Record (EHR) Essay

Electronic Health Records was developed around the 1960’s and 70’s. An Electronic Health Record is a digital collection of patient health information compiled at one or more meetings in any care delivery settings. A patient’s health record includes their vital signs, past medical history, demographics, their laboratory data, immunizations, progress notes, problems and medication. EHR is often referred to the software platform that manages patient records maintained by a medical practice or hospital.

Around the mid 1960’s Lockheed developed an EHR product which was later handed down to Vendor Techicon, then to the TDS Health Care. It had later inspired systems because of its processing speed and flexibility, which allowed many users in the system at once. Starting in the early 1800’s more collective effects had been made to grow use of EHR. The institute of medicine acknowledge the need for serious analysis of paper health records. In the mid 1980’s, they took on a study, publishing the results in 1991. Around 1997 they republished it with some revisions. This report was the first to dispute the case for using EHR, the report was established as one of seven key recommendations for updating patient records and to discuss a means of converting paper to electronic records. When 2000 came around, the 10M issued a study of medical errors.

In 2004 President Bush had referred to the topic state of the union address. In the year 2009 President Obama also incorporated EHR into his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act contributed higher payment to health care providers that meet a meaningful use criteria. That includes using EHR for meaning purpose and meeting certain technology standards. The term “Meaningful use” has become controversial because it instructs transition to EHR for physicians, and hospitals that treat patients covered by the government insurance.

President Bush overall goal order was to decrease medical errors through record legibility records uniformity and to increase information available among patients, medical providers, and the insurance carriers who pay for the care. Meeting the overall goal would help to control the rising costs of health care to both the patient and the insurance carrier. Which includes government funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Although implementation can be expensive, the electronic records is quickly becoming the physician most important business and legal records.

Before EHR there was medical charts and to access the medical charts the files had to be pulled from storage space, then it had to be transported, delivered, stamped and sorted all in one visit. With many task to be done to medical record in one visit there was many errors and sometime charts would be missing information or be chronologically out of order. Over the time EHR had eliminated the physical transport and filling charts, making data available at any time. The good thing about EHR is that it allows physicians to place lab and imaging orders. EHR also allows you to electronically send in prescriptions. Another good thing about EHR is that you don’t have to worry about trying to read other people handwriting.

Correcting an EHR is totally different from correcting a medical record, when correcting a paper medical record you just draw a line through the mistake you made and make the correction as close as possible to the original entry. On the other hand with an electronic format you cannot draw a line through your mistake because electronic medical records are legal documents and once the information is saved you cannot change it. If you happen to make a mistake an addendum to the mistake is made as soon as you notice the mistake.

Some of the bad things about EHR is that at any given time unauthorized people can gain access to confidential and sensitive records. An unscrupulous person could access patient data and use it to commit fraud. Data loss is a major issue, a computer can crash and wipe out vital data that have been accumulating for years. The good thing about EHR would be that you have a back-up, but with paper medical records you’ll have to go through a lot to find it. Some more good things would be that it improved patient safety there’s also a reduction in errors. You also have immediate access there’s no delay in treatment and you also have access to multiple types of data from a single point.

The advantages of EHR is that it provides accurate up-to-date and complete information about patients at the point of care. You can share patient information with other Physicians. EHR also enables safer, more reliable prescribing enhancing provincial, and security of patient data.

There are many different functions of EHR program which includes Billing and Coding software, Electronic Prescriptions, Electronic Schedulers, Trickler files, and Patient Access. Most patient’s today prefer most communications through electronic means instead of being out at the office waiting for their appointment to be made but on the computer or over the phone you can get it done quicker. Trickler files are computerized records. Trickler files alert staff members about patient who are due for their yearly check-up and follow-up care.

Billing and Coding allows electronic coding of medical records and electronic claims submission to insurance carriers. There’s also Electronic Prescriptions which can be transmitted directly to the pharmacy or printed and handed to the patient. Electronic Schedulers is another good software. Back when they were using paper appointment books, there was only one person that could use the book. When a patient would call to make an appointment and another staff member was using the appointment book you would have to wait until the staff member was done to make the caller appointment. An advantage about the Electronic Scheduler is that more than one person can access it now, and when a patient makes an appointment you can search the patient name or record you and you can see the date of their next appointment.

By the year 2016 if all goes according to plan, EHR’s will be fully functional and exchangeable. According to the department of health and human services the number of hospitals adopting EHR’s has increased just from a percent in 2008 to over 80 percent in April 2013.