Theadoption of the electronic health records (EHR) has transformed themanner in which health facilities operate. Indeed, the use of EHR hashelped in the mitigation of health costs and the improvement ofpatient outcomes. The purpose of this report is to discuss variousaspects of EHR with respect to a case study.
Mostof the healthcare facilities have integrated the use of EHR systemsin their operations in an attempt to improve the quality of care.Compared to paper records, EHRs are considered to have benefits tothe patients and health practitioners. However, their implementationmay be hindered by the financial resources they require.
Dr.Thorne is under the pressure of converting all her paper records tothe electronic health records (EHR). Although she has managed tokeep herself abreast of the meaningful use guidelines, she has notyet adhered to the rules. “She will need to follow three stages forthe Medicare EHR incentive program, which require time” (ACC,2016). For instance, “all eligible healthcare providers need tostart participating in the Medicare EHR incentive program by meetingstage 1 regulations for a period of 90 days during the first year ofmeaningful use and a period of one full year during the second yearof meaningful use” (Tate, 2012). From the case, Dr. Thorne is underpressure of time because she cannot implement the EHR withoutundergoing the three stages of meaningful use. These stages willrequire time for full implementation. Resources will also offerpressure to Dr. Thorne since there are limited resources, and theexecution of an EHR system requires resources since the system iscostly. Furthermore, a staff to work on the EHR system will berequired since there is no staff that knows how to use the system.
“Theinitial step towards adopting and implementing an EHR in the practicewould be assessing the readiness of her practice” (DeVore, 2015).The step of determining if her practice is prepared to make changesfrom paper records to EHRs would be the first to consider for Dr.Thorne. The assessment stage must be in a position to address thequestion regarding the reason behind the implementation of electronichealth records. It is in this phase where Dr. Thorne will determinewhether the goals of her practice are aligned well with those ofimplementing EHR or not, the needs of her practice, as well as thetechnical and financial readiness of her business towards thetransition. Besides, in this step, it would be crucial for Dr. Thorneto evaluate her current practice. In this case, she would considerestablishing whether her clinical workflows are efficient andunderstood well by all staff, the administrative processes areorganized, well documented and efficient, as well as whether thestaff members are computer literate and cozy with informationtechnology. Furthermore, “envisioning the future and setting goals”would be critical for Dr. Thorne in this initial step (DeVore, 2015).It is important for her to establish what would be different for thestaff, providers, and patients.
Asan eligible professional, Dr. Thorne can qualify for EHR incentivepayments that can total to as much as $44,000 through the MedicareEHR incentive program. Since, the practitioner is located in a ruralsetting other federal resources available include funds provided byHealth Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Centers forMedicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and Agency for HealthcareResearch and Quality (AHRQ) among others.
Howan EHR System Impacts the Quality of Care
“Electronichealth records impacts the quality of care since they are in aposition to offer health care providers information about patientswhen it is needed” (Lakbala & Dindarloo, 2014). Also, it isfeasible for practitioners to track changes in any health variablesassociated with a given patient. Apart from this, EHRs assist inreminding providers about certain screening and maneuvers. As such,health practitioners are capable of providing the best care topatients. It is due to these aspects that patients have improvedhealth conditions for chronic disorders.
Howan EHR System Impacts the Cost of Care
AnEHR system has an impact of mitigating the cost of care. Compared topaper work, paper records require hiring many staffs, who would beinvolved in carrying out different paper work processes at variedunits. However, with the EHR system, different processes can becarried out at a single unit. This saves time and resources, whichgets rid of unnecessary costs. Thus, through this way, the EHR systemis considered to reduce cost of providing care.
Howan EHR System Impacts Access to Care
“Withan electronic health record, it is possible for health practitionersto access valuable data about a given patient” (Manca, 2015). Thisis critical in enhancing access to care because it implies that it isfeasible for providers to offer care services to any location,provided the practitioner is in a position to access health recordsof the patient electronically.
Dr.Thorne can work her own training, as well as that of her staff, inher practice through considering different alternatives. One of theoptions entails hiring individuals who already have skills on thetraining in order to train her and the staff. Another option entailshiring a new staff that is already conversant with the operations ofthe system so that he/she can train others in her practice.Furthermore, she can go for the training and teach her staff memberslater on the use of the system.
Inthe implementation of EHR system in her practice, Dr. Thorne wouldconsider assessing the readiness of her practice as the first step.This would be a critical phase since she would establish the needs ofher practice and the future goals. Integrating EHR system in herpractice will help in enhancing health outcomes.
ACC(2016). MACRA101: Advancing Care Information.American College of Cardiology. Retrieved fromhttps://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2016/10/05/16/10/macra-101-advancing-care-information
DeVore,A. (2015). Theelectronic health record for the physician`s office with SimChart forthe medical office.St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders.
Lakbala,P. & Dindarloo, K. (2014). Physicians’ perception and attitudetoward electronic medical record. SpringerPlus,3,63.
Manca,D. P. (2015). Do electronic medical records improve quality of care?Yes. CanadianFamily Physician,61(10),846–847.
Tate,J. (2012). TheIncentive roadmap: The meaningful use of certified technology: amanual for medical practices and eligible professionals.United States: Human Kinetics.