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Cost-Benefit of EHR versus Paper Records

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Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the electronic health record
and the paper record. Identify the future direction of health record keeping. Discuss the
problems that may arise in the future as a result of many groups unwillingness to adopt the
electronic health record as well as how changes to medical care (IE Affordable Care Act)
can impact record keeping. Conduct a cost benefit analysis between two similar
organizations, one of whom chooses to adopt the electronic health records in their
organization and one who does not. Explain the pros and cons for each facility based on
their decision and its impact on its revenue stream.

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Solution Preview

Both electronic health records and paper records are designed to document and track health care services, as well as health conditions, treatments, and health histories of patients. Both have advantages and disadvantages, in terms of cost, ease of use, and overall effects on operations.
Similarities
Paper and electronic health records can both be organized in a logical manner, such as alphabetical order, by patient last name, for ease of access.
Both formats must be secured in some fashion, when not in use or when they are being shared between providers in different healthcare offices. Sharing of records via fax or email requires some measure of security, to meet HIPAA guidelines (Office of Civil Rights, nd). The use of pins and passwords is viable when copying or faxing paper records. It is also viable when sharing electronic records. Electronic records systems can provide a thorough audit trail of who accessed records and when. If security measures are used with devices like fax machines, audit trails may also be possible, if each user is assigned a unique user ID and/or password. In both paper records systems and electronic systems, providers must notify patients, in the event that unauthorized access has been discovered (Office of Civil Rights, nd).
Differences
The differences between paper and electronic health records are broad. They include differences in ability to secure health information, amount of labor required to maintain records, space requirements for storage, ability to read and understand information at a later date, and preservation of record integrity.
Security
Paper health records must be stored in an area that can be locked, when not in use. This means limited access to keys for locked storage areas is necessary, based on office staff roles and responsibilities. While in use, complete records storage areas may be left unlocked during the day, allowing easier access to unauthorized users, who may obtain data that can cause potential harm. However, if paper records systems are kept in areas of the office where patients and unauthorized individuals are not likely to enter, such as away from patient care areas and waiting ...

Solution Summary

This analysis describes some of the main considerations in implementing an electronic health record system

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