Have Ehrs Impacted Our Medical Facilities in a Positive Or Negative Manner?

Published: 2021-09-14 17:00:08
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Category: Health Care, Biology

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The federal mandate of Electronic Health Records (EHR) implementation has impacted the medical world significantly. Technology has advanced within the last few so much, that it has moved into our local hospitals and medical facilities. This impact has created safer and more reliable environments for staff, patients and family. With everything that is new and improved, there will always be pros and cons.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had a huge impact on all private and public healthcare providers. This Act required that these facilities demonstrate and adopt “meaningful use” of EHRs by January 1, 2014. Meaningful use includes to achieve the following: engage family and patients, maintain privacy and security with patient’s health information, and improving safety, care coordination, and reduce health disparities. The facilities would have to do this to maintain their Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement levels. Since 2014, EHRs have spread worldwide and have proven to be very beneficial to facilities everywhere. The rationale behind this Act was to improve and maintain privacy, safety and security with patient’s health information. Another rationale would be improving public health, quality, safety, and efficiency. There are many rationales behind this act, but these are the few that stuck out to me the most. For facilities who failed to participate in this Act were penalized. For example, for those who did not demonstrate their “meaningful use” by 2015, a one percent reduction in reimbursements occurred. This Act was the beginning of growth in Nursing Informatics in the healthcare world. Again, I will state there is always some pros and cons to everything new in the technology world. I am going to start with the cons because I prefer to save best for last. Whenever we have to computerize information about our patients, there is always going to be a chance for an unauthorized access. A con for EHRs could be something as simple as someone getting their hands on someone else’s information. This of course would go into HIPPA and some other dangerous situations. I was reading that new accounts have the danger of ransomware. This is where hackers can install malware on servers and hold the data hostage until they receive money. I found this quite fascinating. I never thought hackers could be so clever. When something like this happens in a certain facility, details on all patients are unavailable and this slows down the work process. Also with this situation, if patient’s found out about the breach, it might ruin the practice’s reputation and patients would be uncomfortable and worried about their personal information. The last thing I want to worry about when I am in the hospital, is my information staying private. Another possible con to EHRs would be a system that does not update on a regular basis. This would cause problems inside and outside the facility. This might be a warning sign to invest into a different software. Lastly, the most common con that comes to my mind would be room for error. A misspelled word, name or even diagnosis can lead to a lot of dangerous interactions. If someone is diagnosed for something and received medication for that diagnoses it could lead to many severe problems. Another example would be mistyping a name or date. Again, something as simple as this could lead to huge error in the medical field.
After listing all the different cons of EHRs, how about we talk about the positive effects it has had on the world. When companies demonstrate “Meaningful Use” and obtain the financial incentives offered by Medicaid and Medicare. Facilities can receive other financial incentives from the government if they use an EHR to document their compliance with calue based care initives. An example of this would be to support data for another resource. Another pro of using EHRs would be the use of templates. When using a template, this will ensure and reduce the room of error when staff are typing in information. It also will alarm you if you are not giving enough information or if something is not filled in. I also have seen systems that will alert you to double check information or will not let you close the program without an alert message. Sometimes we need reminders as nurses to stop and check to make everything is accurate. It has been proven that EHRs have fewer errors than paper records, according to experts. Communication can also be improved with EHRs. This allows both doctors and nurses full access to a patient’s medical history instead of just their present visit. EHRs can make it easier to reach a diagnosis and to track patients for follow up care. Sandhya Pruthi, M.D said. “I can quickly and easily pull up test results in the exam room to review with my patients.” This would save time for her to go out and check things in a paper file. These overall pros of EHR help both the patient and the staff. EHRs can reducing medical error, increase accurate communication and keep patient’s information private and protected. These are just the few common pros to the EHR.
When looking and thinking about the current hospital I work in and our EHR system, it does help keep us organized and increase the communication between staff and patients. I have just worked here for about two months now and it is funny to hear some of the staff say, “These systems are so much easier then the paper system.” I simply chuckle and tell them how I am in a Nursing Informatics class and we discuss the use of technology in the medical field all the time. We have a couple systems in my facility. One is teletracking, teletracking is made to basically track the patients. All units have a teletracking computer screen. This is just a big TV with all the patients on the floor on it. This screen shows staff what room patients are in, if they are on isolation, if a room is open or dirty and even if they are in the process of getting discharged. I recently went to a teletracking class to better understand it. There are many more tools you can use this system for. You can request transportation or even order more supplies for the floor. I thought this feature was nice because anyone could go in and do it. The responsibility is not limited or assigned to one individual. The next system we have, which is our main EHR, is Soarin. Soarin allows doctors and nurses to look at the patient’s complete medical history. As a nursing assistant, I am only allowed to see certain things. For example, I am not allowed to see past medical history or even the patient’s assessment into the hospital. I can see what they are diagnosed with, isolation and basic precautions and lastly previous vital signs. The system is very secured. You have to log into the computer and then log into the certain program to gain access to the information provided on both different programs. If I was a patient here at the hospital I would feel pretty secure and safe knowing my information was kept private. The last tool I want to mention is our printing labels. These labels are for stool, sputum and urine samples. You simply scan the patient’s ID badge and system prints a label with all the patient’s information on it and what kind of test it is. This saves a lot of time for us aids. I tried doing it the “old fashion way”. The way without the labels and you have to write everything down yourself. It is faster and easier with the printable labels. The other positive part with the labels is they do not forget to write all the information down. I on the other hand, had to stop to make sure I was writing all the information I had to on the label when I was doing it the old fashion way. Technology has made it easier for us in the healthcare profession to reduce error and speed up processes.
When I reflect on my work environment, there is a few things that I would change about the EHR system. Our EHR system does not have a specific place for “notes” to be added. A lot of spaces and reports only allow a drop down box or a place to type numbers. For example, when I am typing someone’s daily living information into the computer, there is no spot to type in maybe how they are walking, or if we noticed a rash or something like that. Some people would say to just verbalize this to the nurse. But, how about if the nurse forgot? Nurses are usually pretty busy and working through med passes. It is important we are able to document these things. Aids or nursing assistant in my opinion, see the patients the most. It is important if they see something, they should say something, or in this case document it. Another change I would recommend reorganizing EHR in the future. The future is going to bring many new changes, I think reorganizing the EHR would benefit all companies looking to grow and adapting to the new technology. Lastly I would have a system that could automatically take the patient’s vital signs and send it directly into the computer. I think this would save a lot of time and maybe even lives. As of now, I do not think I would change or delete anything.
I think the implementation of EHRs has impacted nurses in a big way. The EHR systems allow nurses to access information and past history. If something were to happen suddenly to a patient, like an emergency, the nurse or even another healthcare provided could get quick access to their information. Imagine going through papers while a patient is in trouble and needs assistance. EHR helps nurses keep organized and also can remind them about dangerous medications. It can remind them to double check the dose, route, patient, time and medication. If any of these were incorrect it could be very dangerous and sometimes deadly to the patient. The biggest impact I think it has made on nurses would be the time it saves. When nurses had to use paper and before everything turned electronic, things were delayed. Information and documentation was not as simple as a few touches on a keyboard or a click of a mouse a few years ago. Sometimes this newer technology can lead to frustration, but usually it is beneficial to everyone. With amount of detail and length of how much nurse has to document, the EHR saves them plenty of time. Imagine writing all the documentation out after a long shift.
The EHR system can make an impact on the health outcomes of some patients. I was reading an article, which applied lung cancer and explained how a big topic, such as this one was an easier diagnoses with the help of the EHR. Radiologists began placing identifying markers on all scans and exams, they would then note wether or not a lung mass was present and it was cancer. This electronic marker is trackable and can be attached by the radiologist with a single click. I am sure where you are wondering where the EHR comes into play. The EHR plays key information about prior imaging and past medical history. This made the process for doctor’s a lot easier. A single page report was made avaible with a click of a button and when patients would come in for a checkup, doctors were able to pull up the report in the exam room and on their privacy-protected mobile device. As a result of applying the EHR into this electronic marker, it generated computer commands and could notify a team of cancer experts. All of these experts were brought together in front of the patient and the patient was able to hear advice from each expert and it made sure everyone was on the same page. The patient was able to receive recommendations for treatment and a summary of what was happening all in one visit. The use of EHR in this scenario created a domino effect which ended with a happy patient. At the end of the day, that should always be our main goal as nurses or any medical professional.

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