Despite the expense and hurdles of implementation, the establishment of an Electronic Medical Record infrastructure is an essential key to saving lives and money over the long term. Free essay! Download now
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Despite the expense and hurdles of implementation, the establishment of an Electronic Medical Record infrastructure is an essential key to saving lives and money over the long term.
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DescriptionDespite the expense and hurdles of implementation, the establishment of an Electronic Medical Record infrastructure is an essential key to saving lives and money over the long term.
Additionally, EMR can reduce the instances of adverse drug events (ADEs). The attending staff must not only remember to administer the correct drug but also at the right time and in the right dosage. In some instances, patients require a myriad of drugs, some of which can have negative reactions with each other. A relatively recent study analyzed adverse drug events in hospitalized patients over a 30-year span and concluded that it was between the sixth and fourth leading cause of death (Lazarou, 1998) . This is an excellent example of how EHR can come to the rescue. Whereas human memory might fail to recall the appropriate time to treat a patient or might supply faulty information regarding the dosage, the electronic system stands vigilant. It will indicate if a drug is safe to give to the patient, the time it should be done and record the details of a treatment for audit purposes. Clearly, the EHR can enhance patient safety and improve chances of survival by reducing adverse drug events during the hospitalization of patients.
Implementation of EMR can be instrumental in disease management, especially chronic ones (Hillestad et al., 2005). First, analysis software can screen patients via their various test results and identify those most at risk of certain chronic diseases. Second, the EMR system can keep track of treatments, which is valuable information for health care personnel. Third, by recording the response rate for trial medications during clinical tests, the EMR can expedite the return of results. Fourth, with properly implemented EMR the flow of patient treatment is optimized by improved communication between various departments and specialists. One example is that of Phyllis Hendrickson, a diabetic whose sodium levels put her life in danger (Andrews, 2009) . It was solely due to a computer notification of those levels to an on-call doctor, that Mrs. Hendrickson was contacted and treated. With the combination of preventative intervention, treatment monitoring, feedback from clinical trials and improved relay of information, the EMR infrastructure can help to manage chronic disease, such as diabetes, which is on the rise (Mokdad, 2003) .
Notably, even the current leader of the most powerful nation on the planet is championing the cause (The WhiteHouse, 2009) . Granted, it will take time, money and effort to implement this technology in any country. To paraphrase the author Hamilton Holt “Nothing worthwhile comes easily”. However, it would be self-injurious to a land to shy away from this technology. One need only ask the surviving relatives of a family member who was lost due to a medical error: “What price can one put on life?” This constitutes an investment that can help distinguish the health care sector of any country as truly First World.
Man may not be master over the elements, time travel may still yet be a dream and death might be an inexorable and unconquerable foe. What is within man's grasp however, the ability to mitigate the tragic consequences that might arise from simple mistakes, especially within the realm of healthcare. Reduced errors from poor handwriting, protection of patient data, improved management of chronic diseases and better access to patient history are some of the key ways that electronic medical records will influence the health care system. Their effects can be lessened greatly or eliminated altogether by transitioning to a digital infrastructure. "To err is human" but electronic medical records can save lives.
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