In case of referrals, the physicians are able to share information with ease allowing a more accurate diagnosis to be made and the sending of reports between the two physicians becomes easy since it is electronic. In these ways, electronic medical records systems help physicians and healthcare organization to improve the quality of care provided to patients as well as improving the relationship between the patient and the physician since the electronic medical records system allows a better organized and more efficient way of collecting and transmitting data Raghupathi & Kesh, 2007()
Other advantages of electronic methods include the safety of medical records from disasters such as fires and water since the records are held electronically and it is easier to create secure backups offsite. They also enable the physician or medical organization to comply with HIPAA standards such as the ANSI 5010 which claims that all submissions and the transition from coding of diagnoses and procedures from the ICD-9 system to ICD-10 which are made much easier since these changes are done electronically and the system can be designed to do this automatically. Electronic medical records also integrate easily other functions such as billing and insurance claims thus allowing the billing department to do their work with ease through being able to submit claims more efficiently and in a timely fashion Sharon et al., 2005()
It is also argued that electronic medical record systems can enable the physician to build longitudinal patient records which allow them to gather data in a broad-based fashion with greater efficacy. Therefore epidemiological data is collected with ease enabling the physician to improve the quality and efficiency of health care provided Benin et al., 2005.
Electronic medical records also allow physicians to view medical records from anywhere via the internet using computers and handheld devices such as mobile phones and tablets which allow them to continue treating their patients despite where they are or to pass this information on to other health care providers Peabody, Luck, Jain, Bertenthal, & Glassman, 2004()
Players or stakeholders
In the implementation of an electronic medical records system, there are several key players or stakeholders involved in the process. These stakeholders are involved in building a wide array of skills and knowledge which help to ensure the implementation is successful and that it incorporates the different perspectives of the various stakeholders Gertzog, 1970.
These stakeholders are also involved in specifying the set of goals and objectives of the implementation of the electronic medical records system as well as specifying the activities and timeline for implementation.
The project manager is the first stakeholder and is responsible for keeping the project in check and ensuring that it meets the set goals and objectives. In a physician's office, the physician may be the project manager or can choose another person to act in this capacity. In this case, the physician delegated the role of project manager to the practice manager. The project manager is also involved in monitoring and evaluating the project work plan, progress and milestones to ensure that the project is going according to schedule and that any issues arising in the implementation of the project are resolved as soon as possible and that the project schedule is updated as needed. The project manager also checks the delivery of any equipment for the electronic medical records system such as the computers, servers, cables and other vital equipment to ensure they meet the specifications needed and that they are on time. The project manager is also involved in delegating tasks to other members of the team to make sure each of them is involved in the process. He or she also has the crucial role of ensuring each of the team members is properly motivated to perform their function towards the implementation of the electronic medical records system.
The physician champion was the person who acted as a liaison between the physicians in the group and the team involved in implementing the electronic medical records system. This person acts as the point of reference between how the activities for the implementation are conducted in the physician's officer from a clinical perspective and provides insight on how the physicians need the electronic medical records system to work. This person keeps the physician up-to-date with the progress that is made in implementation of the electronic medical records system and gives approvals on behalf of the physician. The physician champion in this case was the personal assistant to the physician.
The system builder was the company or organization chosen to build the electronic medical records system and to customize it to make it work as the physician needs. The system builder works closely with the project manager and the physician champion to make sure the system functions as needed and that there is regular updates on the progress of building the system. The system builder in this case also functioned as the trainer for the application once it was completed. This was the person who trained the staff in the practice on the electronic medical records system and provided technical assistance such as maintenance of the system, regular updating and backing up data when it was needed.
Medical records user liaison officer
The medical records user liaison was the super user for the medical records system and was responsible for checking the system to ensure it meets the set goals and objectives of implementation and that where any issues with the system are noted, they are relayed to the system builder to ensure the changes are made as soon as possible. This person also acted as a system administrator and helped in conversion of data from the paper-based system to this new electronic medical records system and also ensured that the system had the necessary security measures to ensure it protected sensitive data held in the system in compliance with HIPAA. The it manager in the office was chosen to be the medical records user liaison officer since it was felt that he was most knowledgeable on the requirements of the system from a technical perspective. The medical records user liaison officer also collaborated with the system builder to ensure the system was built to the goals and objectives of the organization and also complied with security standards set by HIPAA.
The head nurse helped a lot in input of past data into the electronic medical records system since this was a time-consuming task and needed many users to assist. He also helped by providing support and assistance to ensure that all members of staff were conversant with the electronic medical records system. The head nurse also helped collecting feedback from other members of staff and patients regarding the system and what changes need to be made in order to better the system. The head nurse will have the role of informing the nurses of the benefits of the electronic medical records system as well as what is required of them. The head nurse also helped to identify the members of staff who were resistant to the change and forwarded them to the super user for coaching and counseling so that they can change their attitudes by understanding the importance of the electronic medical records system. The head nurse also provided support and assistance to the nurses regarding the system.
Beacon Hills Health Care is a medical center with 15 beds and consolidates 10 physicians. The board of the health care center made a commitment to implement an electronic medical records system in the year 2010 as a 2-year plan in order to improve the quality and safety of patient care at the facility. The board also acknowledged that the system would provide timely access to medical information about patient and provide alerts when any allergies or adverse drug interactions were expected. The system would need to be built to the best practice standards and support clinical decision-making. A consultancy firm was thus engaged in order to guide the selection of the system builder. The chosen system was that of Epic systems, one of the leading electronic medical records system vendors. The name of the system was chosen to be GROOVE.
The goals of the project were defined in order to guide the implementation. The overarching goal was to take advantage of the efficiencies that were brought about by the electronic medical records system. The second goal of the project was to improve the quality of care provided to patients.
The project was divided into three phases. These phases described which department had their data transferred to the system first. The first phase was the outpatient department, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency departments which were the most utilized departments in the facility. The second phase was the oncology…