Real World Process Improvements – Electronic Health Records

2109 words - 8 pages

The implementation of new information technology systems into existing organisations is not a new concept as the possible process improvements for a business can be fairly obvious when compared to more traditional non-computer based systems. One sector, which for the most part is transitioning into using information systems in an attempt to improve processes, is the health sector. This report observes and analyses multiple real life cases of health care providers from the United States who have decided to upgrade from traditional paper based patient charts to computer based Electronic Health Records (EHR). The report then moves on to suggest the future of EHR systems.

It should be noted that all of the case studies observed in this report were created by the Centre for Aging Services Technologies (CAST) who describe themselves as being “focused on development, evaluation and adoption of emerging technologies” (CAST, 2012, p. 2) in the medical sector. The Centre for Aging Services Technologies is an international group made up of 400 technology companies research universities and government representatives.

The United States government describes Electronic Health Records as being “digital versions of a patients paper chart” (Healthit.gov, 2014). Electronic health records typically include information on patients including the patient’s medical history, medications the patient takes, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images and test results. With this being said it would first seem that EHRs are simple data collection and storage systems but this is not the case as modern EHRs include tools to help medical staff such as nurses make decisions about patient’s care, therefore possibly leading to process improvement. For the most part medical organisations purchase EHR software from vendors under the model of software as a service.

The first case study which will be analysed as part of this report is that of Fort Hudson Nursing Centre a small nonprofit nursing care facility in Fort Edward, New York. Before implementing an EHR System Fort Hudson Nursing Centre used a traditional paper based health record system.

Due to the Fort Hudson Nursing Centre’s use of an archaic filing system that surrounded most of the centre’s activities they found that their processes were lacking in certain areas which could be improved through the implementation of an EHR system. One such example of this was the time wasted by nursing staff at the centre searching through large binders and paper charts in order to gain information about a particular patient of the centre. With the most obvious process which was lacking due to an outdated filing system identified there were of course other process of the Fort Hudson Nursing Centre that were lacking due to their outdated processes including inefficient shift change processes due to a lack of an automated reporting process, lack of direction for staff due to inefficient care plans, in efficient...

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