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Electronic medical record systems- The Benefits and Pitfalls

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1. Since your predicted total margin for next year shows a decrease of .5 %, would you still go ahead with the EMR upgrade?
Be sure to support your answers with appropriate citations and explanations.

CASE STUDY: ABC Health Systems EMR
ABC Health Systems provides emergency and level I trauma services in a large metropolitan area with a population of 200,000. There are also two other level I trauma centers within 45 miles. The payer mix at ABC Health Systems is 60% government and 40% private payers. The total margin profitability for ABC Health Systems in fiscal year 2013 was 2.5%. In fiscal year 2014, total market is projected to be only 2% due to projected changes in payment from their major payer. As part of it's enterprise strategic plan, ABC Health Systems is in the process of expanding its Emergency Department by adding an additional 20,000 square feet of space. This additional space will allow the Emergency Department to provide expanded emergency services. The current process for documenting the patient visit is a combination of electronic and paper records. This hybrid method is less than efficient and sometimes causes records to be unavailable which increases the chance of medical errors. The information systems strategic plan calls for the purchase of a new electronic medical record for the Emergency Department. The choice of vendors for this new electronic medical record system has been narrowed to two. One vendor is T-Systems and the other vendor is PICIS. Your current hospital health information system is McKesson. Both T-Systems and PICIS offer open technology, device connectivity, system interoperability, clinical expertise and data analysis tools. T-Systems is able to install, test, train, and go-live within 4-6 months of contract signing. PICIS is projecting a go-live date of 6-9 months.

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Historically it is found that hospitals recorded patient information and medical histories on paper. In the 1970s there was a growing interest in the use of technology for improving health care. EMR or electronic medical records were developed in the developed nations. It was felt that EMRs would enable more efficient storage and retrieval of patient data. EMRs also provided efficiencies and improvements that are not possible in a paper based system .EMR systems now also offer web based features such as search tools or email.
EMR- the Benefits
However as longevity increased and treatments for chronic diseases such as AIDs and TB became long drawn and complex, the need for an EMR system was felt. One study in the US concluded that widespread EMR adoption by health care providers could save $81 billion annually due to improved safety and efficiency (Hillestad et al ,2005).
The benefits of EMR falls into several broad categories (Staren et al, 2009) :
1. Improved quality of health care - Medical records would be more complete. There would be better communication and therefore workflows between hospitals and physicians. This would lead to efficient and better care and more consistency in treatment. Errors would be avoided.
2. Increased revenue - When efficiency increased because of EMR, physicians could see more patients. Waiting time for filling and entering patient information decreased, resulting in increased capacity to handle patients. Billings therefore increased. Also services could be charged more accurately. Physicians also preferred facilities that had EMR as it improved communication between the physician and the hospital. So more physicians were attracted to the facility.
3. Improved patient ...

Solution Summary

The paper looks at the benefits and pitfalls of electronic medical record systems in the health care industry. The paper goes on to look at the factors that prevent successful implementation of such systems.