Technological progress as well as the rapid development of electronic data and the Internet have influenced almost every sphere of life. The Healthcare industry has experienced some modifications as well. In particular, the secure sharing of health information that is kept in the form of electronic health records (EHRs) became possible due to health information technology. EHR is a modern efficient way to keep track of patients’ medical information, which has some challenges, benefits, and regulations of this technology can be proved through the example of MDVita EHR.
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One of the main challenges that can appear while using EHRs is the establishment of communication barrier. In particular, one of the fundamental things in healthcare is to build interrelationship between a patient and physician or nurse. From this perspective, a special role is played by eye contact that helps build trust and understanding among people (Balestra, 2017). Meanwhile, when a person is using MDVita EHR, they can focus their full attention on the program itself rather than a patient and their needs. As a result, a patient can get the feeling that he or she is ignored, while a physician or nurse is just busy checking health status, prescribed medications, or test results. In such context, proper relations cannot be developed between two people. What is more, the situation gets even worse when in order to enter the data, a physician or nurse is required to use wall-mounted systems. In this case, a person would likely turn their back to a patient while doing regular visits (Balestra, 2017). Thus, one of the main challenges in electronic charting is the possibility that proper communication would not be established.
Other problems that still remain while using EHRs are malpractice and minor errors. Even though electronic charting may reduce some amount of paper work, people can still fail to keep documents without any inaccuracies and incompletion, which is basically caused by the human factor. For instance, this problem may occur when the employees only begin to use MDVita EHR and transfer information from paper charts to the system. Moreover, nurses may forget to provide relevant documentation after they actually offered their services to the patients or some kind of manipulation. In addition, even the auto-fill function can result in malpractice. The main party that suffers from these challenges is a patient. What is important, resent research reveals that the more widespread the usage of EHR becomes, the more frequent is the occurrence of mistakes (Balestra, 2017, p. 108). Therefore, the usage of electronic charting does not guarantee that inaccuracies and mistakes would disappear.
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At the same time, EHRs have very positive impact on the general workflow of medical personnel that can be seen as the reason for starting to use electronic records. First, the whole information about all patients in a clinic is gathered in relatively easy to operate system. From this perspective, the clinicians do not need to spend extra time on searching the paper version of personal records of each patient and later spend extra time to feel in all blanks and return them in place. Second, the availability and access to all laboratory results and patient charts is more convenient and fast. Third, in case of a need, the nurses can set special reminders for preventive care, additional operation, or services that should be done. Finally, medical error alerts can signal on the problems (Manca, 2015). For instance, according to the research of the effectiveness of medical practitioners that are using MDVita version 20, 100% of participants stated that task performing became much more organized and less confusion, which resulted in the absence of failed work (Pichel, 2014, p. 16). Hence, the usage of electronic records helps improve the overall workflow and effectiveness.
Another significant reason for moving from paper charting to EHRs is the ability to get the information in different formats that have not been available before. Notably, with the help of EHRs, the physicians can build different charts or graphs about cholesterol levels, weight, and blood pressure changes over some period of time. Moreover, specific treatment plans can be developed with screening targets and changing quality measures. In addition, some alerts can be set when data or results meet critical level. The other benefit is that the information about the best care approaches used by other specialists can be shared (Manca, 2015). In case of MDVita version 20, the latest goal set by its developers is to create imaging radiology order. The next goal of HealthCare 2000, the company that developed MDVita, is to ensure the smooth creation of prescription and their automatic mailout (Pichel, 2014, p. 17). All in all, the range of options in terms of data sharing and information proceeding is much broader while using electronic records rather than paper charting.
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The other reason for moving to EHRs is the establishment of better relations within medical personnel. In particular, it became much easier to keep in touch with all team members and access everyone when additional clarification is needed. Moreover, consultation letter templates, medical notes, and chart summaries help make communication more organized, structured, and legible. Furthermore, a typical form for prescription has been introduced as well. Finally, booking schedule can be accessed by all staff and, sometimes, the patients, which makes the process of schedule organization more efficient (Manca, 2015). MDVita version 20 has proved the benefits of EHR by ensuring timely completion of tasks and high efficiency of performance under realistic conditions that is partially achieved with the help of communication among the colleagues (Pichel, 2014). As a result, electronic system helps establish better interaction and information flow between medical personnel.
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Meaningful regulations are crucial for documenting EHR. In general, meaningful use of electronic records aims to improve quality, efficiency, safety, and reduce health disparities; improve care coordination; engage patients and family; improve population and public health; and maintain privacy and security of patients’ health information (Griskewicz, 2015). From this perspective, when deciding to adopt her, medical institutions and their personnel should encounter existing federal and state regulation of the healthcare sphere. Special and care attention should be given to information and personal data since this is the most valuable thing that is transferred from paper to electronic source. As a result, each time after the personal visit, the relevant information should be added to a patient’s profile. Meanwhile, all changes in the form of alteration or deletion of the data can be later monitored by supervisors. Finally, medical personnel should be aware that any intentional and sometimes even unintentional actions can lead to legal liability (Balestra, 2017). Thus, meaningful use regulations should be encountered while using EHRs.
In conclusion, EHRs can be considered a good example of health information technology adaptation in recent days that allow for keeping patients’ medical information in electronic form. Several challenges can be determined in this sphere, such as the potential establishment of communication barrier between a physician/nurse and patient or malpractice and minor errors occurrence. However, existing benefits that led to the substitution of paper charting by electronic forms are the improvement of the general workflow, ability to get information in different forms, and establishment of better communication between medical personnel. Still, when applying EHRs, both clinic and its personnel should encounter meaningful use regulations.