Electronic Health Records
HealthIT.gov defines Electronic Health Records (EHR) as a digital version of a patient’s medical details. EHRs may include patient-centered records like demographics, immunizations, past medical history, primary care physician, lab results, medications, recent visits, and surgeries.
The article “An integrative review exploring the impact of Electronic Health Records (EHR) on the quality of nurse-patient interactions and communication” shows that EHRs have advantages and disadvantages.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using EHR?
- With effective EHRs, patient-centered information can be accessed from any authorized location, thus enhancing healthcare coordination and efficiency.
- As Johnston, Butcher, & Aveyard (2023) state, “nurses’ use of electronic health records impacts on the flow, nature and quality of communication between a nurse and patient.”
- EHRs automate access to information and can streamline or reorganize caregivers’ workflow.
- CMS.gov states that EHR can directly and indirectly support other healthcare-related activities through numerous interfaces such as quality management, evidence-based decision support, and patient outcomes reporting.
- EHRs enhance clinicians’ decision-making. It consolidates patient information into a single electronic record where caregivers can access a holistic view of the patient’s health, leading to better diagnosis and treatment.
- Implementing EHR systems can be costly and time-consuming. An organization intending to implement EHRs must incur a considerable capital outlay to purchase software and hardware and offer training services.
- Some clinicians may lack the necessary skills and knowledge required to manage EHRs. This can affect their productivity and the entire workflow efficiency.
- EHRs primarily rely on technology; hence, technological glitches such as system failure or data loss can compromise patient outcomes.
- If the patient-centered data is not properly protected, it may be accessed by unauthorized individuals, thus jeopardizing patients’ privacy.
- Johnston, Butcher, & Aveyard (2023) argue that nurse-patient interactions and communication are limited when nurses use EHRs.
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