Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

�Identify a recently adopted information, education, or communication technology
tool in your specialty area. Reflect on how it is used and how its use impacts the quality of
care.
�Consider how your identified technology tool might impact nursing practice if it
were more widely used. What are some barriers preventing increased usage? How could
wider implementation be facilitated?

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

The world has been transformed radically by digital technology, that is, through tablets,
smartphones as well as web-enabled devices which have made the daily lives of human beings
easier by facilitating their communication. Similarly, the field of health has not been left behind.
The health care field is an information-rich enterprise (Laureate Education, 2012c). As such,
there has been the need to promote a seamless flow of information within digital health care; this
has prompted the creation of the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) which is the electronic form

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that maintains patient records. It is designed, consulted, and operated by authorized officials
from across several health care institutions. Often, the records contain the patient’s bio data, past
medical history of the patient, patient’s allergies, vital signs, laboratory data as well as progress
notes. It has all the relevant and important clinical data of a patient under care to a given
practitioner.
Impact of EHRs on Quality of Care
Simpson, (2015) points out that EHRs have significantly fewer medical errors, unlike
paper records. Communication between health care providers has also been improved with the
introduction of Electronic medical records because it allows practitioners to have full access to
the medical history of the patient instead of a snapshot-type overview from the current visit. As a
result, more in-depth evaluation is enhanced enabling practitioners to come up with an accurate
primary diagnosis more quickly hence improving the care process.
Additionally, EHRs have made it easier for health care providers to follow up with
patients and track continuing care not only for patients that are under their supervision but also
those that under the care of other doctors. This also facilitates the process of patient hand-over
whereby nurse who is in-charge of a patient can confirm the patient’s details in case he/she is not
sure or has forgotten some of the patient’s details.
During adverse health care events, patients may be frightened and confused making it
easy to forget personal medical details. During such emergencies, the practitioner should access
the patient’s blood type, medical history, and the food or drug allergies that the patient may be
having. The use of EHRs has been the difference between life and death when patients cannot
communicate because they facilitate faster retrieval of patient information. EHRs also in the
management of patients in remote areas by enabling clinicians to interface with other

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technologies such as the telehealth to access clinicians, staff members, pharmacists hence
improving and extending patients’ access (Vinson et al., 2011).
Factors affecting adoption of EHRs
One of the factors that have hindered successful approval of this technology in most
health care organizations is the lack of readiness for transformation by practitioners (McGonigle
& Mastrian, 2015). Most of them are inclined to the use of traditional methods of documentation
which they are used to. DesRoches et al., (2013) report that lack of proper communication and
misinterpretation between end users and vendors of the EHRs also slows down the adoption
process of the technology.
Adoption of EHRs can be achieved through ensuring that it is proper and correct to the
end users and providers. The users especially those who oppose the technology should be
educated accordingly about the advantages of EHRs over traditional methods. The education
should also highlight how every staff in the within the healthcare organization can use the
technology. For instance, the role of pharmacists, nurses, physicians, and lab technicians should
be explained. Success implementation of EHRs will revolutionize the health care field and
improve the patient outcomes.

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References

DesRoches, C. M., Charles, D., Furukawa, M. F., Joshi, M. S., Kralovec, P., Mostashari, F., … &
Jha, A. K. (2013). Adoption of electronic health records grows rapidly, but fewer than
half of US hospitals had at least a basic system in 2012. Health Affairs, 10-1377.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012c). Healthcare technologies. Baltimore, MD: Author.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2015). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge
(3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Simpson, K. R. (2015). Electronic health records. MCN: The American Journal of
Maternal/Child Nursing, 40(1), 68.
Vinson, M H., McCallum, R., Thornlow, D. K., & Champagne, M. T. (2011). Design,
implementation, and evaluation of population-specific telehealth nursing services.
Nursing Economic$, 29(5), 265–272, 277.

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