The article basically covers the journey towards electronic medical records (EMR) from the paper based health recording. It notes that America leads in healthcare expenditure in the whole world despite the fact that close to fifteen percent of citizens are uninsured. In addition, another twenty percent of the citizenry remain underinsured. High healthcare costs are associated with related inefficiencies, errors and fraud within recording systems. The author observes that electronic medical recording systems would effectively reduce these costs.
EMR works by storing one’s personal and health data within an electronic database. As such, the information would be accessed from any locality by medical personnel. This would allow expeditious patient attendance by health experts dispensing with the current tedious paper work and its related costs. In fact, experts opine that electronic systems would lead to a net reduction in cost amounting to seventy seven point eight billion dollars annually. In addition, it would reduce the amount of medical errors effectively improving healthcare services.
However, despite obvious advantages, adopting the new systems has proved tedious and costly. Small hospitals are almost unable to afford the costs and time needed for transitioning. Statistics indicate that about eighty percent of physicians and ninety percent of hospitals still rely on paper based recording systems. Another challenge incidental to electronic medical records is the problem of compatibility of the currently available systems with the ones which would be in use five years to come and on.
The government in implementing the American Recovery Reinvestment Act intends to fund implementation and transition processes in various hospitals who would meet a set of specified conditions. Despite advantages incidental to electronic medical records, implementation process still grapples with issues of data sharing with several systems and user confidentiality among the patient populace.
Management, organizational and technological factors
Building of electronic medical records is faced with an array of obstacles. From a management point of view, healthcare providers are not ready to incur the related transitional costs and commit time to the process. For instance, small hospitals find it expensive and inconveniencing to implement the electronic medical recording systems. On the other hand, organizational obstacles are experienced in light of the traditional approaches previously practised. Physicians and hospitals at large, heavily rely on paper work so that the transition to electronic modes still poses substantial challenges from an organization point of view. Further, there is no guarantee that the technology used today would be compatible five years later. This has led to a cautious approach by health experts who may want to cushion themselves against possible loses.
Stages that would be most difficult in building the electronic medical records
The most difficult stage in the electronic record system building is the digitizing process. Digitization refers to the conversion of data from the written paper work into digital codes that the computer system can store. The process is difficult because large volumes of data are required in order to digitalize. In addition, the need to incorporate data from across the board poses a challenge in the digitization process. This has contributed to the associated high costs of transiting from paper based records to electronic records. Perhaps that explains why small hospitals have not yet embarked on the digitization process.
Application of business process management
Business process management entails the application of business procedure and strategy in implementation. Electronic medical records can employ the use of business process management in the design and implementation of EMR. This would be achieved through utility of procedures that on a step to step basis achieves the transition objectives. In business process management, a definite strategy is employed that lays a guiding framework in the pursuit of objectives. In a similar vein, hospitals can employ a guiding framework that gives substantive procedures on the implementation of electronic medical records.
Importance of business intelligence and analytical capacities
Business intelligence refers to abilities of organizations to convert its capacities into knowledge. The subsequent knowledge is employed in the development of ideas and solution of problems. Business intelligence is important in the successful implementation of electronic medical records. This is primarily because the intelligence would necessarily bridge gaps and deficits that occur during the transition process. On the other hand, analytical capacities would be essential for the identification of errors and possible missteps during the implementation process. The role of analytical capacities and business intelligence ought to be appreciated in terms of their ability to fasten, secure and facilitate the transition process. Under the business management model, hospital management would limit related costs to the bare minimum. Ultimately, the onus remains on hospital management to settle on the right kind of model for the implementation of the electronic medical records.
Employing the concepts business management would effectively address the implementation challenges.
In conclusion, it is noteworthy that the concept of electronic medical records would soon catch up with the citizenry. The advantages that electronic medical records accrue far outdo the related disadvantages. In addition, the challenges can be addressed by developing solutions.
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