Electronic Health Records
Although the process of change is slow, things have started to change in relation to the adoption of health informatics. Technology is changing the entire health care system, from the processes to the operation of the whole health care system (Brown, Patrick, & Pasupathy, 2012). Use of technology in form of electronic health records (EHR) is projected to change the way health care is provided in the country. The present systems that are being implemented are done in an isolated manner, where each organization and state implements its system, without necessarily having a standardized process (Vest, Yoon, & Bossak, 2013). A good case to illustrate this is the State of Wisconsin case report, where the system in use is specific to the State (State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 2008). Potentially, there is a need for standardization because the health problems affecting one organization and one state are common. Implementation of the EHR is not an easy task, due to the cost, time, and other resource implications. However, the discussion highlights that the cost and effort are worth the implementation based on the potential benefits of the EHR.
The implications of the EHR at the business level can be understood from a systems approach (Brown, Patrick, & Pasupathy, 2012). There is a noted increase in the cost of health care, leading to the need to control this aspect of care from a profit equation-revenue perspective. Implementation of EHR has the promise of enhancing the quality and productivity, while at the same time reducing the cost (Kumar & Bauer, 2011). The cost cutting benefit amid quality improvement is one of the justifications for the implementation of EHR.
Calman et al. (2012) suggest that there is potential for EHRs to catalyze effective collaboration and coordination within the health care service provision. Coordinated services across the health care organizations and care providers are important outcomes of the implementation of health informatics because of the potential for improved quality of care. Working in real time because of the availability of information is a benefit for the physicians and nursing, explaining the justification for the electronic systems.
Davenhall (2010) suggests the impact of medical records on the health of an individual. It is beneficial for the patient in an environment where information is readily available to enhance their care. Use of the information has the potential for improving the quality of care, which is beneficial to the patients (Brown, Patrick, & Pasupathy, 2012). Effective diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment management work well in an event where the processes are automated, and hence justifying the implementation and use of EHRs.
Documentation of patient health data has the potential in improving the health of the community. The information is the basis for the improvement of surveillance for chronic and communicable diseases in the community (Calman et al., 2012). EHRs are facilitating clinical alerts based on the population health goals guiding prevention and fast intervention in case of disease breakout. Worth noting is that public health has the potential for improvement in the event of harnessed use of EHRs, offering the justification of the implementation cost.
Electronic health records are changing the way health care is provided. With proper adoption and management of health information, the benefits to the health care organizations, service providers, patients, and populations are vast and supersede the cost of implementing the electronic records.