Thispaper analyzes the meaningful utilization of electronic health record(EHR) that whose outcomes are significant and measurable improvementsin hospitals and other healthcare institutions. The paper furtherdiscusses the way through which the electronic health records meetthe requirements for meaningful use. Additionally, the discussion ofthe essay includes reviewing meaningful use standards, incentives,and penalties that are associated with the utilization of EHR. Theprocess of adopting and implementing the EHR systems is faced by somebarriers such as resistance by physicians and lack of funds.
KeyWords:electronic health records (EHR), meaningful use, measurableimprovements, and barriers.
Recentstudies have shown increased implementation of electronic healthrecord (EHR) by many health care facilities. The EHR systems areexpected to advance the quality, efficiency, and safety of medicalservices offered in most hospitals. Though the EHR systems come withmany beneficial features, it is important also to note that thetransition from paper records to electronic ones may be challengingdue to the patterns already in place (Bredfeldt et al., 2013). Theimplementation process of the electronic health records may disruptthe flow of work within the institution and thus may result in delaysin service delivery (Noblin et al, 2013). Nonetheless, the moment theentire implementation process is complete, the expectations are thatthe quality and speed of service delivery will improve. This researchpaper analyzes the use of EHRs in medical institutions and variousincentives and penalties that are associated with their meaningfuluse.
Electronic health records have several benefits on workflow,documentations, patient satisfaction, communication, quality ofhealthiness services, and output. The EHR systems also have someadverse implications on the service delivery as they may impede theflow of patients, diminish productivity, and hinder officecommunication. A case study by Noblin et al (2013) illustrates thatthe transition process from paper records to electronic experiencesmany issues that may in include universality, security, start-upcosts, and the attitude of physicians towards the systems. When theproficiency of the EHR systems cannot be gained the resulting outcomeis subprime system optimization and underutilization of the entiresystem. Such issues may result in adverse impacts such as disruptionof the workflow, delays and increasing the length of visits topatients (Bredfeldt et al., 2013).
Adoptionand the meaningful utilization of the EHR technology are solelydependent on the complete assimilation of (HIT), health informationtechnology with the medical facility workflow. Clinicians may resistthe adoption and implementation of the electronic health technologyif the health institution cannot successfully integrate the HIT intothe clinical workflow. According to research by MSM et al., (2010),use of HIT in health care settings may lead to increased efficiency,patient safety, and improved access to quality medical care.Additionally, the report suggests that implementation of the healthinformation technology may have several benefits that includeimproved clinical outcomes, cost saving, reduced prescription errors,health disparities are reduced, and it also enhances the managementof chronic diseases. Therefore, the EHR systems implementation canhave many benefits in the entire medical care facility especiallywith the use of HIT that ensures medical procedures are conducted ina way that they reduce errors (Noblin et al, 2013).
Theadoption and implementation of EHR systems are impeded by severalfactors that consist of cost of adoption and transition, resistancefrom the physicians, and limited funds. Additionally, the EHR systemsalways raise concerns over the security of patient’s private andconfidential information while revenue loss and lack of vision byhealth institutions management may also slow down the rate ofelectronic health record technologies implementation (MSM et al.,2010). Meaningful use of EHR systems is demonstrated through threecriteria that clinicians show. First, they use certified EHR systemsthrough the inclusion of electronic prescribing in a considerablemeans. The second criterion is the exchange of health information andthe use of the exchanged data to improve the quality of medical caredelivery (McQuade-Jones et al., 2014). Lastly, the EHR systems haveenhanced the process of reporting preventive measures within theinstitution.
Federalhealth information technology policies have been initiated that seekto address the obstacles limiting the adoption and implementation ofEHR. The federal policies concentrate more on addressing barriersthat involve physician resistance and training of clinicians. Forexample, in the first months of 2011, the Health InformationTechnology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) that wasadopted in the year 2009 paid incentives and offered other trainingservices to all health workers who had demonstrated the meaningfulutilization of the EHR systems (Patel et al., 2013). Training is acrucial part of the implementation process of the EHR systems thoughmost health care institutions do not employ much effort onpost-implementation training (Bredfeldt et al., 2013). The incentivesprovided for the physicians increases with the type and number offunctionalities each physician adopted for primary care (Patel etal., 2013). A report by Murphy (2010) indicates that "TheStimulus Bill" allocated $ 19 billion for providing financialincentives to health workers who had demonstrated meaningful use ofthe EHRs. Additionally, the incentives were planned for helpingmedical care practitioners in buying and implementing the healthinformation technology and the EHR systems.
Insummary, electronic health record systems have been adopted andimplemented by most health care institutions. The systems havevarious benefits including improving the safety of patients byreducing errors that may occur during medical procedures,communications, and improving workflow efficiency. The implementationprocess is faced with various challenges that include delayedworkflow and waiting for length, resistance by physicians, and lackof funds. Some acts have been introduced that aims at offeringincentives to physicians that demonstrate meaningful use of EHRsystems and training more clinicians on the use of EHRs especiallyafter implementations.
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