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Implementing Electronic Health Records Essay

1046 words - 5 pages

According to the Journal of Patient Safety more than 300,000 people yearly will enter the hospital never leaving due to preventable medical errors, making medical errors the third leading cause of death (James, 2013). Ineffective communication tools such as written medical records and written prescriptions could be the leading causes of these medical errors. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that medical errors alone cost the United States over $37 billion each year (2008). The implementation of Electronic health records (EHRs) could greatly reduce the number of medical errors seen in hospitals today as well as decrease the hospitals’ cost for such mistakes.
There is an international consensus that approximately 10% of hospitalized patients suffer from the damages brought about by medical interventions, around half of which are preventable (Flotta, Rizza, Bianco, Pileggi,&Pavia, 2012). ABC News reported that Tesome Sampson was admitted to the hospital. Her doctor ordered strict bed rest and progesterone suppositories to prevent premature later. Mistakenly she administered the drug, Prostin, which is commonly given to expel a fetus due to miscarriage from the womb. Sampson went into labor following the administration of the drug. After four hours of abdominal cramping she gave birth to her daughter in the hospital commode after nurses insisted she only “needed to have a bowel movement.” Sampson was just 5 ½ months pregnant. Unfortunately staff wasn’t able to catch this mistake even though a similar incident happened just a few hours earlier when the same drug was mistakenly given to another pregnant mother who later gave birth to unborn twins (Patel, 2009). Sadly, this type of medical error is too common and happens daily whether it is a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist making the mistake. Doctors’ orders could be incorrectly interpreted, those administering medications mistake medication names for one that is similar, or somewhere along the way orders or prescriptions are misinterpreted/misread causing sometimes serious and fatal injury.
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiological reports. The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician’s workflow. The EHR also has the ability to support other care-related activities directly or indirectly through various interfaces, including evidence-based support, quality management, and outcomes reporting (“Electronic Health Records”, 2012). EHRs have the potential to decrease medical errors due to having a more efficient system leaving little possibility for error. The benefit of having all...

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