Implementing Electronic Health Records in Hospitals

Introduction

In the article by Boonstra, Versluis, and Vos (2014), the focus was to determine the current issues in the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) in hospitals. In the past, hospitals relied on physical files to store patients’ data. Using this traditional method, it was time consuming and tedious to collect, process, store, and retrieve patient’s data. Cases of lost or misplaced files were common. The emergence of electronic health records promises to change the approach used to manage data in hospitals. However, some nurses have raised concern over this new system, especially on issues related to security of patients’ data. It is important to find lasting solutions to such problems. That is why this article focused on the implementation issue and how to make the system more reliable and effective for all the medical practitioners. The following was the research question that the authors used:

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How can the implementation of electronic health records be improved in hospitals?

The main point in their study was to determine ways in which electronic health records can be improved to meet the changing needs in hospitals. The authors supported their point by conducting a comprehensive literature review to identify current issues and how they can be addressed. The initial objective of the authors was to identify the current issues in the implementation of EHR and to recommend ways in which they can be addressed. The result shows that it is necessary for nurses, doctors, and clinical officers to be engaged when developing the electronic health record systems to ensure that their concerns are taken care of effectively. The authors arrived at that conclusion after conducting a comprehensive literature review.

Evaluating the Research Methods

The authors of this article used a wide variety of articles to inform their study. Their article provides a detailed review of literature on implementation of electronic health records. According to Fowler (2013), institutions of healthcare are currently shifting from the traditional method of using files to store patient’s data to the use of new electronic methods.

The issue discussed in this article is current and very relevant to today’s existing health issues. The electronic health records are considered more efficient and less time consuming than the traditional system of managing patients’ data. It is also less costly because once the system is installed it reduces the human capital demand. However, nurses and other medical practitioners have raised a number of concerns that need to be addressed. Security of patients’ data is becoming a major concern, especially in a society where cyber crime is increasingly becoming very common. Cyber criminals can easily hack into the online electronic health records, manipulate the data, or steal patients’ information without being detected. Manipulation of patients’ data may expose them to serious danger, especially if they end up getting wrong medication. These are current issues that medical practitioners are trying to deal with as they embrace the new system of managing patients’ data.

In their study, the researchers used non-experimental research type. The study did not focus on collection of secondary data. Instead, they used systematic literature review. They collected books, peer-reviewed journal articles, and other reliable online sources to inform their study. The researchers were keen to ensure that most of the sources they used are current. This was important because it is a current issue that needs current data. However, the authors also used a few old sources to help explain how the old filing system was ineffective. It is clear that the choice of the sources was based on their relevance and year of publication. All the sources they used are very relevant to this topic. Most of them are current, helping to understand the status of the issue under investigation and the changes that have been made.

Sampling is always critical when conducting a research that involves primary data collection. It helps in selecting a manageable sample population to take part in the study. In this article, the researchers used secondary data sources. The authors explained that the nature of their study made it impossible to collect primary data from sampled respondents. That is why they did not collect primary data. As such, sampling and sample size did not apply. However, they did identify reliable and unbiased secondary sources that were appropriate in informing their study. It is clear that the authors took great care when selecting their sources. They wanted to ensure that their conclusion was based on empirical studies conducted by other scholars.

The research results that the authors propose are practical and can be implemented. I believe the researchers did a great job in understanding the issues raised by the medical practitioners concerning electronic health records. They propose strategies that entail engaging as many stakeholders as possible within the hospitals. The hospital administrators have the responsibility of engaging nurses, doctors, and other clinical officers before introducing the new system. Their concerns should be effectively addressed to ensure that they support the new system once it is introduced.

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The authors also suggest that electronic health records systems should be regularly updated and improved in line with the changing technological environment (Silow-Carrol, Edwards, & Rodin, 2012). It is important to ensure that as technology sophisticates data management systems, the EHR system also needs to be upgraded to make the work of nurses simple and to eliminate possibilities of unwanted parties having access and ability to manipulate patients’ data. I strongly support these suggestions and believe that if they are applied, they can create a better environment for the nurses. They will be able to deliver their services to the patients in a better way. It will also improve the relationship between nurses and doctors.

The authors did a good job in their study, but it is important to appreciate that the study could have been improved. Electronic health records system is proving to be very efficient in managing patients’ data and hospitals may not be able to avoid its application. The researchers only used secondary data to inform their study. Although they did a good job in identifying current peer-reviewed articles, in my opinion I believe it would have been better if they collected primary data from sampled participants. The issue under investigation keeps on changing as the emerging technologies introduce new systems and structures. They should have interviewed nurses, doctors, and clinical officers so that they could understand issues that have been addressed and those that still need to be dealt with in the near future.

The authors did a great job in ensuring that their report is written in a clear and straightforward manner. The authors have articulated their findings in a clear manner, using medical terms as appropriate. It is easy to comprehend what they are saying in their report. In their abstract, they have condensed the background of their study, the methods they used to collect and analyze data, the results they obtained, and the conclusion made from the study.

Further research will be necessary on this subject because the issue under investigation keeps on changing. Emerging technologies are improving the electronic health records systems used in various hospitals. However, the level of sophistication of hackers is also increasing (Kara, 2015). It means that as some of the past issues get addressed, new issues are arising that must also be solved. As such, further research is still necessary. We need to understand how the current issues that are raised by the nurses, doctors, and clinical officers are addressed, and how the emerging concerns can be managed using new technologies.

Conclusion

The authors of this article did a great job in developing comprehensive knowledge about the issue of implementation of electronic health records in hospitals. The authors collected data from secondary sources, especially books and journal articles, to inform their conclusion about the current issues on this topic and what various stakeholders are doing to find a lasting solution.

I believe the electronic health records system is the best way of managing patients’ data, just as the authors suggested. I also believe that security concerns raised by the nurses are legitimate and cannot be ignored. The relevant stakeholders must find a way through which these issues can be addressed to make the electronic health records more effective and reliable than they are currently. If the suggestions proposed are properly implemented, patients’ data will be safer than they currently are. The relationship between nurses and doctors will also improve.

References

Boonstra, A., Versluis, A., & Vos, J. (2014). Implementing electronic health records in hospitals: A systematic literature review. BMC Health Services Research, 14(370), 1-24.

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Fowler, F. J. (2013). Survey research methods. New York, NY: SAGE Publications.

Kara, H. (2015). Creative research methods in the social sciences: A practical guide. London, UK: Policy Press.

Silow-Carrol, S., Edwards, J., & Rodin, D. (2012). Using electronic health records to improve quality and efficiency: The experience of leading hospitals. The Commonwealth Fund Publications, 17(1), 1-39.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 28). Implementing Electronic Health Records in Hospitals. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/implementing-electronic-health-records-in-hospitals/

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"Implementing Electronic Health Records in Hospitals." StudyCorgi, 28 Dec. 2020, studycorgi.com/implementing-electronic-health-records-in-hospitals/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Implementing Electronic Health Records in Hospitals." December 28, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/implementing-electronic-health-records-in-hospitals/.


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