Dissemination of information has become an important subject in the healthcare sector. The emergence of tech-savvy handheld devices has accelerated the flow of information. Healthcare facilities need robust methods of maintaining clinical records to improve the storage of information that pertains to patients. The medical history of a patient is paramount to a proper diagnosis of their health situation. The United States health care system remained at the forefront to digitize medical recording by implementing Electronic Health Reports (EHRs). This situation has significantly improved the quality and timely flow of healthcare information. This paper critically examines the EHRs implementation plan, goals, eligibility of healthcare, and possible threats to confidentiality and security of patient information.
The EHR’s Mandate
The EHR projected that all health facilities must have functional interoperable electronic health records in place by January 2015. The attainment of this nation-wide goal was to be coordinated by the commissioner of health together with the Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee. The EHRs statute was enacted in 2007 with a view of providing guidelines to health facilities through its implementation steps. The plan was to ensure a smooth flow of information from the management to the workforce. It recommends health facilities adopt the SMART goals process. Such goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (Friedman, Parrish, & Ross, 2013).
The EHR Goals and Objectives
According to Kimmel and Sensmeier (2002), the goals and objectives of the Electronic Health Records are categorized into the system, vendor, billing, office staff, providers and clinical functions, data control, medical records and document management, patients, and costs (Friedman, 2013). Under each of the abovementioned headings, the goals and objectives are well explicated. The wireless office connection adopted must assure the system of maximum security. In addition, the EHR system must be submissive to the current technological standards for reporting data to MCOs and Medicare (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008). The vendor must be financially stable and in possession of primary care practices. Furthermore, they should possess adequate skills in electronic recording and information communication technology to ensure fast adoption of the EHR system in modern healthcare facilities (Kimmel & Sensmeier, 2002).
Communication amongst patients, medical professionals, laboratory systems, and imaging facilities among others is facilitated electronically to enhance the efficiency of documentation. The EHRs documentation should be comprehensible as well as flexible to provider choices. It should also restructure communication with patients to allow for electronic reporting (Kimmel & Sensmeier, 2002). Adaptable systems for disease management need to be embraced and programs for quality improvement initiated. It should have provisions for a patient education library with easily retrievable materials, which can be printed for patients upon demand. Improved efficiency should result in observable costs reduction on the payroll. Costs for supplies, messenger services, and paper use reduced (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
The Affordable Care Act Take in EHRs Implementation
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) plays a major role in the implementation of the EHRs plan. In its objective of providing affordable healthcare services to the American people through Medicare and Medicaid, it offers incentive programs and subsidies to healthcare facilities who are implementing EHRs (Kimmel & Sensmeier, 2002).
Steps for EHR Implementation in the Facility
The facility under study will adhere to the following steps during the implementation of the EHRs.
- Mapping out the current state: The evaluation of existing way of doing things at the facility. This step will involve analysis of organizational workflows.
- Planning: EHRs should employ a viable strategy that will ensure efficiency and cost reduction (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
- Planning for risks: The healthcare setting should initiate plans towards establishment of future uncertainties. Such risks derail the accomplishment of goals.
- Implementation Planning: A qualified person should be designated to supervise the transition process from paper work to Electronic Health Records.
- Migration strategy: There is a need to establish a strategy to facilitate the process of changing the traditional records to the new system.
- Understanding Data Elements: The organization should choose which data to transfer and the one to be discarded (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
- Safety, accountability, and transparency: The healthcare setting must establish plans to maintain proper security with respect to transparency and confidentiality of patient information (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
Meaningful use refers to the application of certified EHRs technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. It also entails engagement of patients and families in the healthcare setting (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008). Above all, it aims at improving care coordination and public health whilst maintaining privacy and security of information. The application of technology in all communication processes to improve quality of health care. In addition, the use of certified EHRs technology for submitting clinical quality is the central idea of meaningful use (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
Threats to Patient Confidentiality and HIPAA Rules and Penalties for Patients Security Breach
The HIPAA security rule establishes national standards to protect the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards in an attempt to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and security of ePHI (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008). It also conducts associated complaint investigations, compliance reviews, and audits. Escalated offences should be taken by the State Attorney General to enforce the rules (Department of Health & Human Services, 2008).
The EHRs implementation will streamline the flow of information between the patients and health care providers. It will ensure proper storage of patients’ data together with elimination rather than reduction of medical errors. The interoperability strategy ensures generation of proper patient reports about sickness history. This phenomenon improves the accuracy of diagnosis. Patient information that is safeguarded by the HIPAA boosts trust, which in turn enhances honesty in the practice. Healthcare institutions should shift from traditional fidgeting record keeping methods and embrace the proposed electronic storage system to improve efficiency, easy access of patient’s history and to facilitate easy updating of information.
Kimmel, K., & Sensmeier, J. (2002). A Technological Approach to Enhancing Patient Safety. Web.
Department of Health & Human Services. The ONC-Coordinated Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan: 2008-2012. Web.
Friedman, D., Parrish, R., & Ross, D. (2013). Electronic Health Records and US Public Health: Current Realities and Future Promise. American Journal of Public Health, 103(9), 1560-7.