Electronic Health Records

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Thursday, 26 January 2012 03:21

What are Electronic Health Records (EHRs)? Simply put, EHRs are electronic records of patient charts, medical history, and information. They are also real-time records that offer the ability to see everything about patients health all in one place. Some of the other significant advantages of EHRs are their potential to help streamline the workflow of health care providers and offer access to tools that could help with decisions involving patient care such as evidence-based decision support.

A key feature to Electronic Health Records is that it is not only a document what happens at one specific physicians practice but can bring together patient history and other information from different hospitals, physicians, emergency facilities, pharmacies, laboratories, etc.

When thinking of making the switch to EHRs there are a few things you should do. First you should asses your practice readiness. You should think of your current goals, needs, and financial and technical readiness. Also envision what you want to change and what you hope the future state of you practice will be. What will change for the patients? What will be different for the staff?

After you have assessed the readiness of your practice you should plan how to approach the desired changes by making an implementation plan that meets the specific needs of your practice.

Once you have mapped out your approach and created an implementation plan you should select a Certified EHR. Choosing the right vendor is a critical part of the decision making process. There are several options to choose from when selecting an EHR service. You should first try to identify the key goals you want to reach and then select a system that supports these goals.

After selecting the EHR system, you will need to conduct proper training and implement the new system. This should involve associated activities, such as training, mock “go live” sessions and pilot testing. Once the new EHR system has been implemented, you should continually monitor and evaluate your practice’s goals and needs to continue improving workflows.

There are many positive outcomes of using an EHR system. Some of the most significant are that they can reduce the number of incidences of medical errors by improving accuracy and clarity, make more health information available to more doctors and practices to reduce duplication testing, help patients be well informed to make better decisions, and help your practice achieve meaningful use.

Making the transition to Electronic Health Records is the next step in the continued progress of health care that can strengthen the relationships between patients and clinicians.

~Ashley West