Electronic Medical Record (EHR): advantages and disadvantages
In the near future, an electronic medical record of an outpatient patient can significantly facilitate the work of polyclinic staff. Gradually, the refusal of paper variants of maps will be carried out.
What is a medical record of this format?
EHR is a promising direction in the development of outpatient medical care. The abundance of paper cards with their significant shortcomings causes not only patients to suffer, but also all the staff of polyclinics. EHR was designed for greater convenience of the first and to facilitate the professional activity of the second. In addition, it allows you to significantly simplify the activities of the organizational, methodological and statistical departments of any medical institution.
Most importantly, you can include absolutely the same information in the electronic medical record as in its paper equivalent.
The principle of operation of the EHR
Recently, all institutions of the medical-prophylactic sphere are striving for maximum computerization. With the same purpose, an easy-to-use EHR was developed, the use of which greatly simplifies the work of the staff of medical institutions and the lives of patients.
EHC is pretty simple. It is contained in an electronic filing cabinet, which is part of a special program for the automation of the workplace of a certain medical specialist. To gain access to a specific card, the doctor or nurse must simply type the name of the patient in the corresponding search box. If the program contains several patient records with the same data, the doctor is guided by the year of birth or the residential address of the person. If the card has already been filled out, then it will contain a fairly large amount of information that relates to a specific patient. In addition, the card allows a medical professional to track the dynamics of a patient’s visit to a specialist. Of course, this data carrier makes it easy to get acquainted with every diagnosis that has ever been made to the patient. Now, in the age of computerization, this is very important.
It should be noted that a modern outpatient EHR would not carry much meaning if it were not included in the specialized program that combines the computers of all the specialists who work in medical institutions. That is, other specialists, for example, a gynecologist or a general practitioner, including those working in another clinic, have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the diary filled with a surgeon. The data is provided in real time. Thus, the program is a single medical base.
What is the electronic medical record for?
The purpose of the EHR
The necessary EHR has become due to the general computerization of modern society. It should be noted that the idea of creating such a system arose quite a long time ago. Experts have long been tired of working with a large amount of paper documents that have a huge number of flaws. In addition, a single EHR greatly simplifies the activities of medical hospitals, which were able to request information relating to a patient entering treatment in a digital format.This possibility greatly simplifies the activity - doctors do not have to find out what their patient has been sick for all his life. What is so good about an electronic medical record?
Advantages of EHR over paper card
It should be noted that the EHR really has a huge number of advantages. First, such a card will never be lost, the patient will not be able to take it home. Thus, the information is always located directly in the clinic.
The next advantage of the electronic card is that there is no need to search for it, and then transfer it to a specialist to the registry. All data is always available from a doctor on a computer.
Another undoubted advantage of an EHR is that there is no need for permanent gluing of additional sheets, advisory opinions, research results and analyzes into it. All such information is entered in certain columns of the program that provides the necessary information on the first request of the doctor.
Several specialists of an outpatient clinic can familiarize themselves with the contents of an electronic inpatient card.Moreover, it is possible not only to read the card at the same time, but also to fill it. This feature allows you to significantly optimize the activities of staff of medical institutions.
Disadvantages of EHR
Like any other modern invention, the electronic card has not only advantages, but also, unfortunately, disadvantages. The most significant disadvantage is that with a possible power outage the card becomes completely inaccessible. Such a negative feature can significantly affect the treatment of the patient in emergency situations.
The next drawback that should be noted is the possibility of theft of valuable information by computer scammers. In addition, an inpatient e-card can be destroyed partially or completely if the host computer, which stores the main database, is damaged.
Another noticeable drawback of this type of documentation is that compulsory personnel training is required to work correctly with the program. Of course, young nurses and doctors learn fairly quickly, sometimes even without help.But older employees often have considerable difficulty in mastering various innovations, especially those related to work with computer equipment.
Problems arising from the universal introduction of electronic medical records
In addition to the problem of staff training, there are still some difficulties. First of all, we are talking about the need to equip the workplaces of all doctors and most nurses with computers. To this end, the management of the medical institution has to spend significant amounts of money. However, this problem is gradually being solved, albeit not as fast as we would like.
A much greater problem is the transfer of all the necessary information from paper to the information base after it becomes mandatory. People are used to having a medical record on hand. It’s still not completely clear who will do so much work. Quite often, the doctor does not have time even to fill in an electronic map, let alone digitize already existing data.If we consider the registry staff and nurses, they do not have the appropriate knowledge to fully transfer the specific data. The assumption that no one will hire additional employees will be true.
Probably, this problem will be solved in the following way: during the first few years after the mandatory introduction of a medical card form, both electronic and paper cards will be maintained in parallel. However, this approach can bring a lot of inconvenience to doctors and nurses. Thus, before the creation and introduction of EHRs, it is necessary to find an effective solution to this problem.
The prospect of the development of EHR
An electronic card is created for the purpose of subsequent full optimization of the activities of medical and preventive treatment facilities. It is assumed that in the future the system will receive serious development and the need for an ordinary registry will disappear. An electronic registry will take its place.
This will free up significant labor resources and increase the number of pre-medical offices. It should be noted that not only patients and medical workers, but also the administration have already felt the benefits of their implementation.
There is still some promising direction, involving the development of electronic medical records. The creation of a universal unified EHR will allow receiving data from specialists working not only in one medical institution, but also in all medical centers of the country. In the future, it is planned to create a common database that unites all medical institutions throughout the country. The result will be that patient data will never be lost, and a medical specialist who saw the person for the first time at the reception and who is several thousand kilometers away from the attending physician will be able to obtain complete information about the patient’s history in just a few minutes. Such a system, in addition, allows to exclude a variety of fraud with some medical documents.
The electronic registry can be very convenient.
Protection against failure of equipment
In fact, the most serious problem remains the probability of failure of the equipment, that is, a computer, on which a single database will be located, containing the complete electronic card file of a certain medical institution.A fairly good solution is to periodically back up the shared database and then place copies on separate computers. Thus, if one computer breaks down and it is impossible to restore it, another machine can be started, storing a copy. This technique will allow to avoid serious difficulties in the work of medical personnel with electronic filing.
Another suitable solution is to place backup copies of databases in cloud storages. However, this technique has a significant drawback - it will be easier to get access to various Internet fraudsters to the information stored in the online storage.
What is the advantage for the patient?
The creation of an electronic medical record of a patient implies that he will receive significant benefits. First, every patient can be sure that not a single conclusion or the result of a study will disappear from his medical record. In addition, when visiting a medical facility, the patient does not have to stand in line waiting for the registry officer to find his card and give it to the doctor.Everything will be much easier in the near future. The patient will only need to make an appointment with a specialist. When you visit the clinic, you will need to present a health insurance card, and then you can immediately go to the doctor, whose consultation he requires.
What else is interesting personal electronic medical record of the patient?
The next benefit the patient receives is confidentiality. Information about the admission of the doctor, the diagnosis and the results of medical research will be inaccessible to representatives of the nursing staff. The problem is that with the modern system of recording and storing data, medical records, as a rule, are in the registry. Employees working there have full access to the cards and can see absolutely anyone not only on their own interest, but also on someone else’s request. The new system of storage of medical data of the patient will completely exclude such a possibility.
The timing of the project for the implementation of the EHR system
In fact, a full-fledged introduction of electronic medical records of the patient and stopping the management of paper cards in clinics was predetermined at the stage of creating this system.Unfortunately, such a promising project has long been in development due to the fact that various obstacles constantly arise.
At the very beginning, a significant problem was the impossibility of fully equipping clinics with appropriate technical means. Then came the need for staff training. At the moment, this problem is almost solved, however, there is a need to ensure the work of the program without fail. It is assumed that this obstacle will be removed in the near future. That is, the most significant is the problem of digitizing existing paper forms from the archive of medical records.
Despite the fact that the initial stages of introducing an electronic card system involve significant costs for implementation, such a system will later save much more financial resources. The fact is that every year every medical institution spends huge amounts of money on the purchase of various paper products. Of course, the introduction of an electronic card system will require large energy costs, but the overall savings will still be significant.
Introduction of a unified procedure for maintaining electronic patient records
At the moment, the developers of the aforementioned system are striving to implement certain measures for the full systematization of activities in the field of computerization of various medical centers, hospitals and clinics. The hitch consists that at the moment not one version of the electronic medical card of the out-patient patient, but several is developed. And there are several possible unified storage systems.
Such options were in the work of not only representatives of medical institutions and universities, but also private organizations. By order of the Ministry of Health, a special program was created to automate the workplace of doctors of various profiles.
The result was that this system is recommended for implementation in various medical institutions. The need for this lies in the further possibility of integrating most medical institutions into one single network. Thus, in the near future, the management of an electronic medical record will allow absolutely every specialist to get access to information about the patient who came to see him in a matter of minutes.
Despite the existing shortcomings and obstacles to the introduction of an EHR system, developers are striving to effectively solve problems and move from paper maps to electronic ones as quickly as possible.