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    The benefits of Electronic Health Records

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    Many health care organizations have been making the switch from paper-based medical records to paperless, computer-based medical records. Some argue that there are too many security and confidentiality issues that can be created when using a computerized system. However, advocates of the switch think one important difference is the ability for health care providers to take better care of patients.

    Your boss has approached you about switching from a paper-based system to a computer-based system regarding health records. You know this is how many medical establishments are keeping track of records, so you volunteer to explain to him why you think electronic health records (EHRs) would be better.

    As an advocate for the switch to computer-based medical records, your boss has asked you to address the following information:

    * How electronic health records help practices offer better options for the following:
    o Continuity
    o Communication
    o Coordination
    o Accountability
    * What information will the EHRs include?
    * Although you are an advocate for EHRs, what drawbacks do they have?
    * Explain how the office will switch from paper-based to electronic-based records. Will it be a difficult transition?
    * Provide examples of a medical office that has implemented EHRs. How has it helped them? Has it created any negative aspects?

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    Solution Preview

    Electronic health records can offer better options for continuity in the sense that they minimize errors. Records written by hand are subjcet to many human errors because if misspelling, illegibility and different terminologies. These errors result in the waste of time processing information which can reduce continuity. Another advantage is that these type records are very likely to be kept safer than paper records. This potential for security of an EHR can offer another option for continuity. Continuity is also more likely with EHR's in the sense that they translate into better treatment for patients. EHR's are more likely to facilitate efficiency and a quicker diagnosis which continually can result in better health care service for patients. Correct and prompt information can greatly increase the health care service that pateints receive. The fact that EHR's consolidate all relevant medical data in one place helps contribute to the continuity of care since it makes it easier for medical personnel to access patient information.

    EHR's faciliate coordination and communication between various health care personnel. The communication exchange between primary care physicians and hospital based physicians has often been problematic due to the frequent lapses in the exchange of information. It has been reported that discharge reports from hospitals often do not get to medical doctors in time resulting in a decreased quality of care after hospitalization. Reports are often incomplete and not accurate, often missing important information about tests and new medicines. This is less likely to happen with EHR's because these records would store all pertinent information about patients in one place and can easily be updated when ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution cites the benefits and some potential drawbacks of Electronic Health Records in health care organizations.