Health Information Technology

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Modern Technology in Healthcare|

The evolution of modern technology being used in healthcare has been most fascinating to see over the years.  Witnessing this evolution of moving patient charts and paper records into an electronic system has been educational over the course of my 7 years experience in the clinical laboratory.  The use of data storage, document control software, implementation of EMRs and physician use of electronics to aid them when diagnosing patients, has certainly been effective in quality and safety in patient care.

At my first job in a clinical setting, I was a part of a task of going from a paper system to a paperless system. Back in 2007, the need to flip through bulky patient charts and deciphering scribbled hand writing from various people would be a thing of the past for CSL Plasma’s Wichita, KS center. The implementation of ePROGESA was a nationwide, multimillion dollar project that promised to save money and time whilst improving patient care. “ePROGESA is a modular, stand-alone blood bank transfusion service software application that is specially designed to meet the needs of collecting blood, plasma, platelets, cord blood and/or transfusion services organizations to aid/assist qualified and trained personnel to support the major operations within their facilities” ("eprogesa 501(k) summary," ). ePROGESA included modules to enable users to manage the following capacities, but not limited to: donation collection management, donor management, laboratory testing, inventory management, quality control management, consumable management, equipment management, sample storage, deferrals management, standard operating procedure management, report management, and billing. I was very impressed after my personal experience with this system. The use of this technology didn’t necessarily save time, but it certainly was impressive with the traceability it provided and improved patient safety by alerting the care giver of any allergies the patient has and the amount of plasma a person could donate, for example, you certainly wouldn’t want a 110 pound person to donate the same amount a 300 pound person would donate. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) is a system “designed to capture and re-present data that accurately capture the state of the patient at all times” ("Electronic medical record," ). Learning about the EMR system in a hospital setting as part of this class and with the use of Practice Fusion, enabled me to understand the evolution of technology over the years and how patient information is much more secure than it is with the use of paper documents. Worrying about catastrophic events such as a fire, tornado, hurricane, etc. is becoming less of a concern because of the security features that comes with EMR and storing this data off site. Although it was not a perfect system, I certainly saw the impact of greater quality and safety in patient care.

At my current place of employment, we rely heavily on the ability to scan physician order forms as well as other documentation that must be seen by many pairs of eyes. We have recently transitioned from a long, manual process of scanning, to Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. “OCR is the process of turning a picture of words (such as a scan of a typed letter) into an editable document that you can open and use in your desktop publishing software, word processor, or other text editor” (Bear). Our reason for this conversion into OCR is the ability for the system to read each requisition form by recognizing the unique barcode identifier and parsing out this form so users can search for this document instead of opening the folder the requisition would be in and searching through hundreds of pages to find that one requisition form being searched for. I have been auditing 25% of these OCR files, from January 1, 2013 to present, and the errors are minimal. My department is also responsible for auditing 10% of specimens that...
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