Health Informatics Discussion Forum

EMR and Health care communication

The need to increase the use of EMR records/systems in healthcare has been felt for sometime now. Information is everything, everybody realizes that. The amount of communication that takes place in the new information world is possible because of Information technology, and it is apparent that the adoption of the same is being felt across everywhere, and that includes the medical and health care systems.The challenges faced by healthcare systems are surely increasing, the major of them include:• Preventing errors when possible• Improving communication across various systems• Reducing the costs associatedWell, at least the literature says that the use of EMR systems have dramatically improved the communication and patient safety without increasing the costs. The communication in this context means that the entire records of the patient’s entire medical history are available in one central database that can be retrieved any time upon request. If you ask what exactly is recorded? The information includes all the clinical information, medical graphs, nursing and doctor’s quotes, medicine history and so on. All the information significantly increases the decision making of the people at the point of care. Such systems can dramatically reduce administrative errors by verifying the patient’s identity.These systems really don’t need much training effort. A basic EMR training lasts for about 5 weeks, and the doctors or the clinical assistant are ready to use the systems.But still the change is not possible just by buying information technology systems and installing them, the whole transformation is kind of a cultural acceptance, and requires a solid foundation which involves training and educating the staff about the systems.The EMR systems are believed to reduce the patient care related errors by 20%, which is as good as saving few 1000 lives, few 1000 dollars for millions of patients across the country. The costs associated with the systems can be gradually recovered over a period of time, and the general public will be more receptive to the cost changes too. How we envision the systems is probably a part of ongoing discussions, and we will see how things develop, and how easily EMR systems percolate into the Healthcare practices.

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  • As a patient, I'm seeing a huge trend in accessibility of information usability of that information in doctors offices and hospitals. I had some blood test done a couple years ago (kidney stone, ouch!) and the doctor pulled it all up on her computer screen. It was amazing. Really. And I love that there movements even locally (I'm in Indianapolis) of Hospitals and Offices to actually brand themselves as tech. savvy. One example of this is . I really think that this stuff helps doctors actually HELP you while you're there and not spend so much time fumbling around! :-)
  • I work in a long term care setting and have found first hand as a Nurse Manager how EMR would be an essential part of a health care practice. I have patients admitted with multiple diagnoses and histories, many times the family will disagree with a diagnosis, as an example I have a patient who is dying from lung cancer, she has a diagnoses of a morphine allergy. The family states she does not have this allergy yet the patient came to me with the allergy, as much as I try I cannot find where this diagnoses came from. Without the source of the diagnoses the MD is not willing to take the change on using morphine for this woman's discomfort. Had we the availability of an EMR this problem would probably never happened.
    • This is an excellent example to highlight the importance of EMR's and how they would be beneficial to the patient and to the care being provided. While I am sure, the EMR's will not be flawless, I feel that they would be much more comprehensive and readable than the written records that some facilities still currently use. Thank you for sharing!
  • Maple Grove Hospital is building a facility, with an EMR system, from the ground up, I've included a link to a presentation that talks about their process highlighting their point of care communication with the Vocera instant communication technology.
  • I can see the benefits of an EMR, but I have a few questions with the statements made above. It states we want to reduce costs and that the systems don't need much training effort. Another article in the forums states, "Electronic medical records adoption in hospitals, during the first three years of implementation, is often associated with higher nurse staffing needs and higher costs, as well as increased complications for some patients, according to a study by Arizona State University researchers. However, the study also said EMR adoption did decrease mortality for some conditions." This article seems to think the training is quite an effort and has some high costs associated. I can understand how streamlined and compact an EMR would make the data as opposed to the written records. I can also see the benefits with accessing the comprehensive data much more quickly....but there are some cons (which I personally feel do not outweigh the pros) that we need to speak openly and honest about to gain the acceptance that we are aiming for.
  • Jack: EMR use sounds really efficient especially when it comes to communicating at point of care, patient safety, or communicating w/ other providers. But shouldn't information security be added to the list of challenges above if using iphones, iPads, for example?
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