Electronic Health Records
Improvement in technology has provided new ways, and methods of approaching different issues in life. Digital technology has revolutionized the flow of activities in different sectors of the economy. The health sector is among the sectors that experienced this change, from new equipment to new strategies of managing medical information. The health sector, which relies heavily on the availability of information, has influenced the effects of digital technology, especially through the Electronic Health Records (EHRs). This technology digitizes storage, access, and availability of patient information records, which enables patients and physician interaction in the overall process of patient care. The privacy and security of patient information is one the most important considerations when implementing the technology (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). The government has various regulations that govern how healthcare providers should treat patient information. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is among the regulations that provide guidelines about patient information.
EHRs have revolutionized the health sector through new procedures of storing patient information and other health records. Health organizations that use this technology have enjoyed a variety of benefits, which have contributed to the overall improvement in the nature of patient care. This technology enables access to patient medical history, diagnosis results as well as treatment options that are available for the patient (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). The technology has improved the interaction between patients and physicians through different channels of communication. Patients can participate in the process of healthcare by providing suggestions about the kind of care they want as well as their treatment options. This is because they have perfect information about their medical conditions as well as their medical history. The quality of decisions made by healthcare practitioners has also increased the accuracy of health care, which has saved on the costs of providing patient care. The medical sector has been experiencing losses due to inaccurate handling of medical information, and other forms of information relevant to a healthcare setting.
Physicians have also benefited from this technology in a number of ways. EHR technology has also helped physicians in their responsibility of offering patient care. They can use the technology to interact with their colleagues about various health conditions, which contributes to the overall efficiency of health care. Physicians can also seek more information about the conditions of their patients by analyzing past medical records, and coming up with diagnosis options. Additionally, this technology enables physicians to decentralize patient care in a way that captures the needs of patients irrespective of their location (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). Different departments in the patient care setting can use EHRs to link and share information that is relevant to their daily activities and responsibilities. Therefore, it enables easy transition between different departments in the health sector. Medical personnel can link and share patient information, courtesy of EHRs, which has improved the quality of care given to patients.
Privacy of patient information is an important consideration that affects policies and decisions in the health sector. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides standards that govern the application of EHRs as well as exchange of information through the technology (Thielst, 2007). A patient privacy concern is a major consideration in the policies and standards set out by HIPAA. Patients expect medical practitioners to safeguard their personal information as well as their medical information. HIPAA gives patients the right to privacy and safety of their information, which makes it logical for EHRs to enhance the privacy and safety of healthcare information. These security and privacy considerations have been the subject of many discussions and forums that involve adoption and implementation of EHRs.
HIPAA provides guidelines to health practitioners regarding patient information. The regulations and standards apply to all methods of handling patient information, both digital and manual (Thielst, 2007). HIPAA provides that patients can access medical records as well as progress reports throughout the entire process of patient care. Health care providers should also provide patients with a copy of their medical records, which is within the guidelines set by HIPAA. Patients have the right to make decisions about how physicians use their personal and medical information through participating in the whole process of patient care. Therefore, HIPAA provides patients with channels of influencing the care they receive from medical practitioners. Physicians must also maintain the rights of their patients in order to avoid the legal consequences associated with bleaching the rights of patients under the HIPAA.
are designed to deal with healthcare information in a way that rhymes with the
privacy and safety requirements of HIPAA. The operability, functions, and role
of EHRs rhyme with the conditions set by HIPAA, regarding patient information.
EHRs come with their associated technical, administrative, and physical
guidelines that guide all stakeholders about their use. They allow patients to
track parties that access information as well as give authority regarding use
of patients’ information. In addition, EHRs have access controls, which limit
the number of people who can access them. Authorized medical personnel are the
only individuals who have access to the information, and other contents of the
Electronic Health Records (Wager, Lee & Glaser, 2013). Therefore,
Electronic Health Records present health practitioners with a chance of
digitizing storage and access to information, which has revolutionized patient
care in the health sector.
Thielst, C. B. (2007). Regional health information networks and the emerging organizational structures. Journal of Healthcare Management, 52(3), 146-150
Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. P. (2013). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Wieland, S. (2010). A strong tailwind for EHR. Wall Street Transcript, 183(8), 2-4.