The Puerto Rico Hospital HITECH Amendments Act of 2015 114th Congress (2015-2016) which is an amendment of the Social Security Act seeks to apply the Medicare HITECH Act payment to acute care hospitals in Puerto Rico with the intentions of making them qualify for incentives that will enable them to make meaningful use of electronic health record technologies which have been licensed (Congress.Gov, 2015). The end product of this bill is ensuring that the usage of EHR in the care provision process in acute care settings is realized. The benefits that can be associated with the application of EHR in the care provision process cannot be understated. Bearing in mind that the long tedious process that is required in taking the patient’s information on paper every other time they fall sick puts a cap on the efficiency levels of acute care hospitals.
According to the World Health Organization, the obstacles likely to challenge the adoption of these technologies in many developing countries include; the required expertise to ensure that they are rolled out is not available in addition to minimal healthcare funding towards this undertaking (World Health Organization, 2006). Therefore, there is the need for these countries to enact legislations that will oversee the adoption of EHR in acute care settings. Additionally, the policy changes that the WHO has focused on is developing standardized clinical terms that can be applied in the EHR development process to eliminate possible gaps in information (Rajecki, 2010). The WHO posits therefore that, the objectives of ensuring that acute care hospitals qualify for EHR usage will be directed towards; improving the quality and accuracy of data in the healthcare system, enhancing the way patient health information is shared amongst doctors for the ease of providing care both at the present and in the future, improving efficiency in the healthcare delivery process, and finally to have a cap on healthcare costs.
There are a number of stakeholders who will be directly affected by the implementation of this bill. Considering the fact that it will be executed in the acute care settings, it translates to the patients in this unit and the care providers being directly impacted by the bill. The benefits associated with the usage of EHR will directly influence the operations in the healthcare settings where they are used. This will prove important to both nurses and patients since there will be a reduced workload on the side of the nurses while to care provision tom patients will be faster due to minimal bureaucracies involved. Healthcare providers in acute care settings will be the individuals that will be tasked with the putting the certified electronic records technology into use. This implementation will be corresponding to their daily work schedules. Since this bill is an amendment of the Medicare coverage system under the Social Security Act, it means that the funding required for the implementation of this project will be deductions from the beneficiaries’ Medicare scope of coverage.
There are multiple implications that are related to the adoption of the EHR in the care provision process from a global perspective. From the social realm, the adoption of the EHR in healthcare provision process has been faced with myriad of challenges in the sense that, in as much as some acute care patients may be accommodative of these technologies, there is the comprehension that there are some physicians who may want to work independently (Boonstra & Broekhuis, 2010. As such, in the event that the patient’s health information and the outcomes of their care are shared, such a situation will not be comfortable to the physicians tasked with providing care to these patients. Considering the cultural perspective, particular ethnic groups for instance The Amish insists on avoiding interactions with the rest of the world as it may be a possible leeway for them to sin. These persons still hold to the medieval ways of life (Purnell, 2012). As such, this legislation may interfere with their ethical and cultural beliefs since sharing of patient information is considered as one way of exposing them to the outside world. Therefore, there is the possibility of this bill not achieving its purpose in the acute care hospitals. The probable economic implications which will come about from the adoption of this bill are in line with the realization that the upfront costs of acquiring and installing the required software and hardware may be high (Bassi & Lau, 2013). Additionally, it is expensive maintaining such systems because of the state of the art technology used in developing them. As such, the return on investments of the acute care hospitals that utilize them will not be in line with the business expectations of the management. Consequently, the business motive of adopting the use of EHR will not be achieved.
Boonstra, A., & Broekhuis, M. (2010). Barriers to the acceptance of electronic medical records by physicians from systematic review to taxonomy and interventions. BMC health services research, 10(1), 1.
Congress.Gov. (2015). All Info - H.R.1225 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Puerto Rico Hospital HITECH Amendments Act of 2015 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1225/all-info#
Rajecki, R. (2010). World Health Organization launches global EHR standards program | Medical Economics. Retrieved from http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-news/world-health-organization-launches-global
World Health Organization. (2006). Electronic health records: manual for developing countries. Manila: WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.
Purnell, L. D. (2012). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach. FA Davis.
Bassi, J., & Lau, F. (2013). Measuring value for money: a scoping review on economic evaluation of health information systems. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 20(4), 792-801.