Case Study: Implementation of Electronic Medical Records in Healthcare

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¶ … Electronic Medical Records in Healthcare

In the implementation of an electronic medical records system, a team must be designed and delegated with the task of guiding the implementation of the project. The team should comprise of representatives of each department in the organization in order to reduce their resistance to the change and also to create a two-way communication channel with other members of the organization. The team will also be charged with the responsibility of developing a strategic plan for the implementation which should be in line with the goals and objectives of the organization as well as its stated mission, vision and values. A phased approach was chosen for implementation in the organization in the case study and is also deemed to be the best approach for any organization that seeks to implement their electronic medical records system in the best way possible. There were various challenges embraced by the organization in implementing their electronic medical records system with the first being that different departments needed to go live at different times. This was a challenge because it introduced new bugs to the system. This challenge was resolved by choosing the phased approach of implementation and also by thoroughly testing the entire system each time a new department went live. A second challenge was that each department had its own set of functionalities. It was resolved by making sure the system for each department accommodated their unique set of functionalities and that these coexisted with the other departments' functionalities. The last challenge was physician resistance which was resolved by initiating a culture change in the organization and also by creating communication channels to actively involve them in the implementation by incorporating their feedback in the whole process.

Implementation of electronic medical records in healthcare

Introduction

Electronic medical records refer to a computerized system of storing medical records which help health care organizations to improve the quality of care provided. Using an EMR, all records are stored in electronic form and there are many benefits of the introduction of an EMR that make it worthy for any hospital to spend money to implement one. The system allows for easy storage, retrieval and modification of the medical records as compared to the paper-based record system which is still the most common in most hospitals and physician hospitals in the U.S. This is because majority of the doctors find greater ease in using paper-based methods which are less time-consuming and ease their data entry Pagliari, Don, & Singleton, 2007.

This for them is thus a more efficient method of recording medical data. Paper-based systems are disadvantaged in the amount of storage space required to store records as compared to electronic records. They also create an issue in record retrieval since it is a manual process that is time-consumer for the health records professionals. An even greater challenge arises in tracking the movement of records since it is a challenge to collate the files from different locations Hillestad et al., 2005.

Another major disadvantage of paper-based medical record systems is that they do not allow sharing of records. Though it can be argued that paper-based medical record systems can allow sharing of records through copying, transportation and faxing of information, there is a flaw in the system in that it becomes difficult to ensure that once one copy is updated, all of them are updated at the same time Kumar & Aldrich, 2010.

This is the major reason why federal and state governments alongside health insurance providers are recommending the adoption of electronic medical record systems. Electronic medical records create many advantages for health care providers which are the major drive for their adoption in both hospitals and private practices.

Major or overarching theme

The implementation of an electronic medical records system should be in allowing health care providers to continue performing their roles and maintain the practice while the system is being rolled out. This requires the health care providers to implement the electronic medical records system in a carefully planned manner which ensures the staff in the health care practice are aware of the advantages of the electronic medical records system as well as how they will need to change their tasks and activities in order to make maximum use of the electronic medical records system. The major or overarching theme in any implementation of an electronic medical records system is that the system should create efficiencies for the staff in the practice and they should be made aware of how it will affect their day-to-day activities in order to reduce resistance Jensen, 2005.

The implementation should be made in a guided fashion which ensures there are certain guidelines set for the implementation as well as a timeline.

In ensuring each department has advantages as a result of the electronic medical records system, the implementation of the system should focus on the day-to-day activities in each department of the organization and how these can be made efficient. This means that each department will need to have a different set of functionalities to make their system more efficient Laerum, Ellingsen, & Faxvaag, 2001()

Though electronic medical records have a steep price, by ensuring these efficiencies to each department are significant, the cost-to-benefit ratio for the organization will be improved which makes the return on investment higher for the whole organization or physician's office. The efficiency that is brought about by electronic medical record systems has been researched to lead to an estimated savings of more than 80 billion dollars for each year with a move away from paper-based medical records Nixon & Ulmann, 2006()

Context or drivers

The drivers of this case study were the drivers of implementation of the electronic medical records system in the physician's office which were the advantages that the system brought to the physician. The first advantage is the reduction in staff costs as a result of decrease in the number of staff needed for storing, retrieval and updating of medical records. The paper-based medical records system requires many members of staff to be hired for the records department since the storage, retrieval and maintenance of records is a daunting task Garrido, Jamieson, Zhou, Wiesenthal, & Liang, 2005.

A study that was conducted by the University of California which focused majorly on solo physicians or those who worked in small groups of between 1 and 5 found that the cost savings as a result of decline in staff costs for these physicians varied from $20,000 to $50,000 per year Greenhalgh, Potts, Wong, Bark, & Swinglehurst, 2009()

In addition to cost savings from staff costs, electronic medical records systems bring cost savings in incentive payments made under Medicare and Medicaid programs. These programs have received federal funding under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which allows qualified health care providers who have implemented electronic medical records systems to receive incentive payments as a result of what is terms as meaningful use of the electronic medical records system. The ARRA gives a detailed description of what constitutes meaningful use but under the act, the physicians receive incentive payments in terms of grants which amount to about $44,000 for Medicare claims over a five-year period and $64,000 for Medicaid over a period of six years Greenhalgh et al., 2009()

Cost savings of electronic medical record systems also come from the ability of the physicians to use their space more efficiently. Since paperless systems are less bulky and take up less space, the physicians are able to have more space to increase the number of services provided in their practices or to collaborate with other specialists so as to create a more comprehensive healthcare environment Dixon, 2007()

Apart from the benefits that electronic medical records systems bring to physicians and medical organizations, there are also benefits to the patients. The first benefit is that electronic medical record systems are more secure than paper-based systems which means that patient's data such as demographic and insurance information, allergies, immunizations, diagnoses, medications and other vital information is less likely to be stolen and used to target their patients in other ways Choo et al., 1999()

Electronic medical records systems also save time for the patients since when they visit a new physician or health care organization, their previous information can be securely transmitted to the new place which reduces the need for patients to fill out the same forms each time they visit a new physician. Patients also benefit from other advantages such as electronic transmission of information to laboratories and pharmacies which reduce the need for patients to carry prescription and test request forms around. Patients also benefit from marked reduction in errors in prescription and adverse drug interactions since the electronic medical records system checks the patient's allergies to ensure the drugs prescribed will not cause any allergic reactions or other adverse effects as result of drug interactions Bentley, Effros, Palar, & Keeler, 2008.

Further to this, since the electronic medical records system integrates laboratory and x-ray… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Implementation of Electronic Medical Records in Healthcare.  (2012, December 13).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/implementation-electronic-medical-records/6575608

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