Advanced Information Management owes a lot to the recent developments in technology. Technology is considered to be the driving force behind the recent advancements in the healthcare industry. Advancements in medical technology have allowed nurses, physicians, and other practitioners to better diagnose and treat patients.
Areas like biotechnology, information technology, and the development of medical equipment have allowed the management of patients from different localities while improving the quality of care. It is with no doubt that advancement in technology has led to better and more accessible treatment, improved care and efficiency, and improved security and safety of patient data (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017). While healthcare organizations continue to incorporate technology into patient care, they must demonstrate meaningful use of the technology and meet the regulatory requirement for protection of the patient information. Electronic health records (EHRs) are among the most utilized technology in healthcare with over 96% of hospitals having a federally tested and certified EHR program (Acrobatiq, 2019). This discussion analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of EHRS, their effect on quality care delivery, how they meet regulatory requirements, and the successful implementation of the technology by involving different stakeholders.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a System
The ease at which healthcare technologies can be used to achieve the desired outcomes has made its adoption quicker. Usability refers to the extent to which a technology can be used to achieve goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. There is no doubt that electronic health records can be used by healthcare providers with minimal or no support. The users need to have computer skills to operate the systems which mainly deals with the documentation of patient data. The system easily allows providers to store and retrieve information within seconds. The only disadvantage of EHR usability is that some providers may find it difficult to store information while taking care of other tasks because of the level of precision required. It forces healthcare providers to set aside time for documentation while ensuring accurate data is entered.
The healthcare system is a network that involves the constant sharing of information within and outside healthcare facilities. This means that healthcare technology should allow the sharing of information with ease to increase quality care and save time. Interoperability refers to the architecture that makes it possible for different technologies to exchange information between providers. Making sharing of information and patient records with other providers regardless of the EHR software being used is a major challenge today. Tan and Payton (2010) explains that the meaningful use of EHRS is hindered by the interoperability mechanism and by 2015 only 12% of physicians were able to successfully share information appropriately. The problem is caused by the availability of hundreds of government-certified EHR products each with different specifications, functional capabilities, and terminologies.
The healthcare sector is characterized by the increasing demand for services by the increasing patient population. This means that adopted healthcare technologies should have room for expansion and accommodation of more users (Tan & Payton, 2010). Scalability is the ability of technology to grow and manage the increasing demand for its services by users. EHR scalability may not be a problem today because of the increased competition between different vendors. Every organization is trying to produce systems that can store unlimited data in both large and small healthcare institutions. However, the cost of maintaining these features can be high depending on the size of the institution. These systems require larger and larger networks to function at larger scales leaving organizations with huge maintenance and expansion costs.
Sharing information across the healthcare institutions and departments is among the primary reasons for adopting EHRs. The compatibility of EHRs refers to the ability to communicate and share data with another system. Experts argue that compatibility is entirely dependent on the type of software installed and features such as computer display, access security, and interoperability impact the sharing of information (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017). While other systems can easily share information, some EHRs might require to decrypt data before accessing the required information. There is a need for the development of a unified system to ensure compatibility rather than relying on phone calls across departments to seek guidance on information retrieval and access.
Patient care and Documentation
The dependence on medical technology cannot be overstated because there is demonstrated improvement in medical practice, from better diagnosis to improved patient care. Improved patient care reefers to the timeliness and efficiency of service delivery. EHRS has made institutions to save time by allowing easy documentation and retrieval of patient data. Secondly, the accuracy and precision observed in EHR use enable practitioners to provide error-free services. It is no doubt that these technologies have reduced medical errors in the past decade. Regarding documentation, EHRS allows easy documentation of patient history, plan of care, and other pertinent information during hospitalization. The documentation allows easy communication between healthcare providers and saves time by minimizing duplicate information.
Quality and Delivery of Nursing care Patient Outcomes
Digital technologies promise great opportunities for nurses to overcome existing problems in patient care. EHR adoption can greatly affect the quality of nursing care which refers to the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes (Krick et al., 2019). First, the systems have improved communication between nurses and other healthcare providers ensuring that medical errors are avoided during patient care. Secondly, patient engagement in their care is enhanced through EHR use where patients access their information through an online portal system. The incorporation of EHRs has seen reduced hospital times, reduced mortality rates, and improved patient satisfaction due to the coordination of services available (Krick et al., 2019). Additionally, the EHRs allow for monitoring of patients and identification of those at risk for developing complications allowing for early nursing and medical interventions.
Ways QI Data Can Lead to Measurable Improvement
Improved Patient satisfaction is the first way QI data from EHRs demonstrate improved healthcare services. Patient satisfaction is a metric that is dependent on the timeliness of service delivery, involvement of patients and families in care, and improved healthcare outcomes (Mastrian & McGonigle, 2017). EHRS allows for easy documentation and retrieval of data which ensures that patients get to be served at the right time. QI improvement data such as ER waiting times in hospitals indicate improvement in service delivery which translates to increased patient satisfaction. Additionally, the QI data collected enables healthcare provides to make appropriate changes including the use of evidence-based practices to improve on areas of weakness.
The data collected from EHRs allow for measurable improvement by providing a baseline for research and incorporation of EB practices in patient care. EHRs record information about the health status of patients and provide an analysis of common health conditions and their effects on the health status of populations. Researchers can use this information to determine the most common causes of errors including patient falls, hospital-acquired infections, and increased mortality rates. This data provides a ground for research and the use of evidence-based practices to improve quality care.
HITECH and HIPAA Security Standards and Regulations
Data Storage Integrity
The use of information technology in healthcare is subject to HITECH and HIPAA security standards which ensure the protection of patient information. These regulations are meant to protect against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of patient information. Electronic health records ensure the maintenance of data security through the availability of the password and other data encryption systems. Only authorized providers are allowed to access patient information including making changes to patient data (Sweeney Fee, 2019). The security standards also require organizations to install the systems in a safe environment that can prevent data loss or theft of information.
The HIPAA security rule requires that all covered entities must securely backup retrievable exact copies of electronically protected health information (Sweeney Fee, 2019). The rules also indicate that the data must be recoverable, backed-up frequently, and encrypted or destroyed during security breaches. Electronic health records are built in a sufficiently robust which allows for local and cloud storage of patient information. Depending on the vendor and type of system purchased, EHRs demonstrate frequent backup of information and restrict the accessibility of data at certain times. Successful installation of the system also includes testing for recovery and formulation of written procedures related to data backup and recovery plans.
Protection of Patient Privacy
Patient privacy continues to be a topic of concern as technology continues to evolve. The HIPAA guidelines are meant to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronically protected information. First, EHRs are certified by accredited bodies such as ONC-ATCB and other federal agencies to ensure that the adopted system meets the required standards. Upon approval, the systems are supposed to be password protected and access is only through authorized personnel. The system also records the time and other relevant information at the time of data access to provide ground for data breach tracing. Lastly, the transmission of patient data through different online platforms should be done in an encrypted format to allow accessibility by authorized practitioners or organizations.
Organizational Efficiency and Productivity
Electronic health records improve organizational efficiency and productivity through standardized documentation. The systems are designed to have patient information recorded in an organized manner that allows easy accessibility and retrieval. For instance, separate entities for nurses and doctors are available to prevent the mixing of information (Acrobatiq, 2019). Additionally, information is recorded in different locations to allow healthcare providers to navigate easily rather than searching for information in a single file entity. Through the standardized documentation, EHRs have managed to save time and increase the number of patients seen in outpatient departments.
Electronic health records are advantageous because they save time and resources for documentation and storage of data. Studies that compare traditional paperwork systems with EHRs suggest that the technology has reduced waste and saved institutions costs (Tan & Payton, 2010). First, EHRs allow for the storage of information in a single computer system compared to the old filing and paperwork system. The availability of a data backup system allows for easy retrieval of lost information rather than purchasing tools and equipment for new storage of data. The EHRs have also saved institutions extra costs resulting from lost information, medication errors, and unnecessary tests that waste time and resources. Click here to see Informatics and telehealth paper.
Productivity refers to the ratio of output to input which indicates if an organization is performing better or running at a loss. Health information technologies have evidently increased productivity and reduced costs leading to growth and expansion of the health sector. EHRs have increased productivity by allowing care delivery to many patients per day through effective time management. Emergency departments are now able to provide quality services to many patients because of reduced waiting times and improved documentation.
Human and Capital resource
Electronic health records have increased efficiency and productivity by cutting short healthcare expenditure and the personnel required for operation. Minimal training is required for healthcare providers to run the computer systems while the utilization of manual records has decreased over time. However, institutions have to hire more personnel to deal with maintenance issues of the EHRs including software upgrading. The EHRs have had positive input on healthcare expenditure and operational costs because it has minimized errors and increased the number of patients served. Additionally, the demonstration of meaningful use of the technology and improved patient satisfaction increases financial reimbursement from the Medicare and Medicaid services.
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Information Technology Team
The hospital information technology department is crucial in managing clinical software and other processes that help in effective data storage and the safety of patient information. These members have clinical expertise on the use of technology and they are responsible for educating and preparing healthcare workers to appropriately use adopted technology. The information technology team will be responsible for identifying the most appropriate EHR system to adopt and ensure the successful installation of the technology.
Successful adoption and utilization of technology greatly depend on support from the hospital administration. The administration team ensures all stakeholders actively participate in the management of information technology including the realization of set goals by each department (Hawkins, 2014). The administration also ensures the implemented technology receives the required attention by monitoring its implementation and making necessary changes to realize better results. During the adoption of the EHR system, the administration will ensure the availability of funds to purchase the software and hardware including funds for the training of healthcare workers.
A Physician Champion is a physician who has chosen to take on the role of liaison between a group of clinical users and the technical staff who implement the technology. Serving in a leadership capacity, the physician champion promotes and implements changes that benefit physicians and patients. The physician champion will ensure physicians are actively involved in the implementation of the technology by organizing educational meetings and overseeing the different roles of physicians in the adoption of health information technology.
The Nursing Department
Nurses form the largest group of healthcare providers and the adoption of information technology ought to involve the nursing team (Hawkins, 2014). The nurses will work closely with other stakeholders to ensure successful adoption and use of EHR technology. They will participate in educational meetings to gain knowledge on the use of EHRs and actively engage in the documentation of patient data using the technology.
Plan for Evaluating Success of Implementing a System
The evaluation of EHR implementation will use the core competencies that apply to all nurse practitioners as described by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). The technology and information literacy competency requires nurses to demonstrate appropriate technology use to manage patient information (Thomas et al., 2011). Evaluation of this standard will require nurses to demonstrate appropriate documentation of information and the use of the data to improve patient care outcomes. The quality competence requires nurses to offer feedback in peer reviews to promote a culture of excellence (Thomas et al., 2011). Evaluation using this standard will involve the use of a questionnaire to collect data from the nurses concerning the adopted technology and its usefulness in improving patient care.
Acrobatiq. (2019). Advanced information management and the application of technology (Courseware). Available from
Hawkins, S. (2014). Implementing and maintaining an informatics system (Video file). Available from
Krick, T., Huter, K., Domhoff, D., Schmidt, A., Rothgang, H., & Wolf-Ostermann, K. (2019). Digital technology and nursing care: A scoping review on acceptance, effectiveness and efficiency studies of informal and formal care technologies. BMC Health Services Research, 19(1), 400. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4238-3
Mastrian, K., & McGonigle, D. (2017). Informatics for health professionals. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Sweeney Fee, S. (2019). Standards cohort (Video file). Available from https://wgu.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=73316286-93a4-4ddb-ba9f-aa0d0126eff1
Tan, J. K., & Payton, F .C(2010). Adaptive Health Management Information Systems: Concepts, cases, and practical applications (3rd ed.). Sudburry, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Thomas, A. C., Dumas, M. A., Kleinpell, R., Logsdon, M. C., Julie Marfell, D. N. P., & Nativio, D. G. (2011). Nurse practitioner core competencies April 2011 amended 2012.