Electronic health records (EHRs) have contributed to a greater and a more seamless flow of information within the healthcare industry. EHRs have led to the improvement of health care quality by making it convenient for the caregivers through quick access to patient records both from inpatient facilities, and remote locations, thereby promoting coordination and efficient delivery of care (Salmon & Jiang, 2012). EHRs have provided a platform for authentic coding, billing, and documentation of legible records leading to other benefits of a safer and more reliable prescribing. It has also enhanced decision support through real-time clinical alerts, reminders and quick location of the required medical information.
For the patients, EHRs have reduced the need to fill out similar forms at each hospital visit and provide online patient portals where they can interact with providers leading to increased patient participation. EHRs have provided convenience with the e-prescriptions that are electronically sent to the point of collecting medicines. Additionally, they have provided a reliable point of care information, notifications about health interventions, and electronic referrals for easier follow-ups with specialists.
Nonetheless, the implementation of EHRs has also brought up serious unforeseen consequences. There are issues about poor designs of the EHRs system and improper use, which can yield errors and have put to question the integrity of the information in the EHRs. These errors may be taken as accurate by the unsuspecting health providers, who may endanger the lives of the patients with wrong prescriptions. Cases of intentional abuse of the EHRs systems and fraudulent transaction have also raised concern, and have led to adverse media publicity and legal implications that decrease the quality of care.
Identify Three Reasons That the EHR Should Be Implemented
EHRs improve the availability of patient health information in a single place at the time it is needed, thereby enhancing the ease of decision-making on the part of the providers (Salmon & Jiang, 2012). EHRs provide clinical alerts and references that support diagnostic and therapeutic decisions; thereby aiding the quality of care.
EHRs provide the foundation for improving the quality of health care and cost savings: EHRs provide reliable access to patients’ health records, which is indispensable for a safe and effective extension of care services. This will also lead to better patient experiences and outcomes, and reduced costs that could have been incurred in transcription, storing, and re-filing expenses.
EHRs have improved convenience of health care service provision: patients with busy lives and care providers with demanding careers have their lives move on smoothly as they enjoy the convenience of the EHRs, which provide e-transcriptions in real-time, filing for insurance claims, as well as access and submission of files remotely.
Three Barriers to Implementation
The high cost of purchasing, maintaining the EHRs systems, and hiring technical support is a barrier to implementation. Secondly, practice resistance is another barrier because there are concerns about loss of productivity, in that, providers feel that they will lose about 30 percent of their productivity (Salmon & Jiang, 2012). Thirdly, there are concerns about selecting EHRs systems that can meet the practice needs, computer literacy training and usability. Most health providers are not comfortable with technology and may be reluctant to attend training sessions, thereby delaying implementation. Additionally, the EHRs are user-intensive and their success is pegged on active use by the care providers, who might not be ready.
Explain What Telehealth is and how it differs from Telemedicine
Telehealth refers to the utilization of electronic and telecommunication technologies to aid long-distance clinical care, patient and professional health education, as well as public health and health administration through the internet, videoconferencing, store and forward imaging, and streaming media, as well as terrestrial and wireless communication.
Telehealth differs from telemedicine in the manner of scope; that is, it covers a broader range of remote health care services compared to telemedicine. For instance, telemedicine specifically caters for remote clinical services, whereas Telehealth refers to a combination of the clinical services and remote non-clinical services, like administrative meetings. Additionally, telehealth makes use of computer-assisted telecommunications to facilitate the functions in the broader scope of health care services, while telemedicine only uses telecommunications to facilitate its functions.
Describe How These Concepts Impact the Manner in Which Physicians and Patients Interact
Telehealth and telemedicine give both patients and physicians advantages through the provision of quick access to either of them even in remote locations. The systems help to address health problems through consultations quickly and efficiently because information is relayed in real-time. A patient can make a toll-free call to an operator giving details about their location and the type of consultation they are making (may be informational or immediate medical problem). The operator will then access the caller’s health record, which will be relayed to the physician through facility’s software (Salmon & Jiang, 2012). If the caller hangs up, the operator will send out a request to the physician to make contact with the patient either via phone or email. The physician then gives a diagnosis based on the information provided, and if the diagnosis is not possible, the physician will enter into a live chat session with the patient to discuss the condition, treatment, and any other pertinent information.
Salmon, J. W., & Jiang, R. (2012). E-prescribing: history, issues, and potentials. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 4(3).