The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic record of patient health information created by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting. The information included in an EHR are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. “EHRs are designed to reach out beyond the health organization that originally collects and complies information” (Zerwekh and Zerwekh Garneau, 2014 p.541). It focuses on the complete heath of the patient.
“EHR introduction into the health care system can be viewed as an innovation” (Advanced Practice Nurses’…, 2013). Before EHRs, access to medical charts required a fair amount of time, every patient that visited the office or hospital, their file had to be physically pulled. EHRs have eliminated that hassle, not only do they reduce time, but also reduce errors. EHRs are more “legible because there is no hand writing and they are always up to date” (Zerwekh and Zerwekh Garneau, 2014 p. 542). The EHR has the potential to improve the quality and safety of patient care when used correctly. It can improve communication with medication safety. “EHRs improve safety by reducing adverse drug events with alerts, reminders, and potential drug interactions” (Advanced Practice Nurses’…, 2013).
An important disadvantage of EHRs are HIPPA violations. Since EHRs allow for easier access to sensitive information, there is an increased risk of privacy violations. “Security policies must be explicit and well defined” (Zerwekh and Zerwekh Garneau, 2014 p. 535). HIPPA violations are not to be taken lightly, serious consequences can occur.
The use of health information technology may improve health care quality, but it has its disadvantages. Technology is growing and changing constantly, it important to stay informed. The good can out way the bad, as long as policies are followed.
Narcisse, M., Kippenbrock, T. A., Odell, E., and Buron, B. (2013). Advanced Practice Nurses’
Meaningful use of Electronic Health Records, Retrieved from www.elsevier.com/locate/apnr Zerwekh, J., & Zerwekh Garneau, A. (2014). Nursing Today: transitions and trends, Eighth Edition, 535-542.