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Posted: September 2nd, 2023

The advancement of electronic health records (EHR)

Main Post: Review of Current Healthcare Issues
The advancement of electronic health records (EHR) has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry, both positive and negative. In a small health department office in rural Montana, the implementation of EHR has brought about changes in how care is delivered.
Positive impacts of EHR implementation include enhanced continuity of care. With access to a patient’s medical history, healthcare providers can make more informed decisions. EHRs also reduce errors caused by poor handwriting or lost paper records.
However, there are also negative aspects to consider. One challenge is the slow pace of data collection during the initial stages of EHR implementation. Inputting patient demographics, medical history, allergies, and medications can be time-consuming and takes away attention from patients.
From a broader perspective, EHRs have the potential to help address health disparities and social determinants of health. By collecting data from EHRs, healthcare providers can identify population trends and implement targeted interventions to combat disparities.
In the case of the rural public health facility mentioned, the management has involved staff in the vetting and onboarding process of EHRs. They have held meetings to discuss personal feelings and changes related to the implementation. The leadership is working hard to ensure that the implementation is adaptive and meets the needs of the employees.
Training and education have been provided to all staff members to effectively implement the EHR system. The positive attitude and knowledge of the staff contribute to a smooth patient experience. The leadership team has incorporated the staff well into the EHR process, making the change easier to embrace.
In conclusion, the implementation of electronic health records has both positive and negative impacts on healthcare settings. While there are challenges in data collection and implementation, EHRs have the potential to improve continuity of care and address health disparities. Effective management and staff involvement are crucial for a successful transition to EHRs.
Douglas, M. D., Dawes, D. E., Holden, K. B., & Mack, D. (2015). Missed Policy Opportunities to Advance Health Equity by Recording Demographic Data in Electronic Health Records. American Journal of Public Health, 105, S380–S388. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2014.302384
Jacobs, M., Boersma, L. J., Swart, R., Mannens, R., Reymen, B., Körver, F., van Merode, F., & Dekker, A. (2019). Electronic Health Record implementation in a large academic radiotherapy department: Temporarily disruptions but long-term benefits. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 129, 342–348. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2019.07.008
Ricketts, T., & Fraher, E. (2013). Reconfiguring health workforce policy so that education, training, and actual delivery of care are closely connected. Health Affairs, 32(11), 1874–1880.
Broome, M., & Marshall, E. S. (2021). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

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