Improving Patient Care

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February 25, 2014

There is growing enthusiasm in the United States about the use of electronic medical records (EMRs) in outpatient settings. More than $20 billion of the federal economic stimulus (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) is slated to assist physicians, hospitals, and other health care settings in adopting health information technology (Gill, 2009). The government wants to shift into the digital era and it is highly recommended that all hospitals become compliant by 2015 and has provided reimbursement incentives and an electronic medical records deadline for those who adopt electronic medical records (EMR) however, as with all government benefits, this electronic medical records mandate comes with strings attached. For those who do not meet the electronic medical records deadline for implementation, the government has laid out a series of penalties (2009). The EMR system is in place to help improve patient care and (EHRs) can improve the ability to diagnose diseases and reduce—even prevent—medical errors, improving patient outcomes. The role a Health Information management (HIM) has in helping to Improving Patient Care and Quality Utilizing the Electronic Health Record is a very important and detailed job for the health care professional. The HIM professionals will be invaluable to ensuring the appropriate interpretation and conversion of healthcare data related to many uses, including patient data, organizational effectiveness and efficiency, policy making, and reimbursement systems. For example, the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS and other terminology systems such as SNOMED CT will necessitate a better understanding of how data are collected, analyzed, and reported to ensure information is understandable and useable (AHIMA Task Force on Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety). Many places offer services to help patients in ensuring they have access to their medical information so they are able to keep track of their care. BJC for example has offered the use of “My Health Folders”, where employees can manage all their family’s medical information in one Web-based resource. My Health Folders provides a portal for health information such as allergies, medications, immunizations, surgeries, test results and family medical histories. It also stores emergency contact information and a list of the user’s doctors, pharmacies and insurance information. This is something that not only aids in the patient in emergent situations it also helps in aiding the patient in keeping track of their medical information; they are able to trend anything that is unusual or concerning. This was once just offered to the employees and families of BJH but now through a community project they are now offering this to other individuals. BJC, which is the state’s largest nonprofit employer, now offers the program to other nonprofit employers for no charge. For-profit companies can participate for a flat fee of $5 per employee who signs up for the program. BJC also is offering the program to the 141 hospitals in Missouri for free. Secondary uses of health data to evaluate and improve healthcare outcomes and costs have received increasing emphasis. Quality measures are now an integral part of value-based purchasing initiatives at the federal, state, and local level. In addition; quality and patient safety measures include a variety of coded data variables as part of their definition (AHIMA Task Force on Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety). The use of EHRs from the perspective of the health care community is going to come with many ups and downs. There are going to be people in every atmosphere that are hesitant with any kind of change even if it is for the better. Any health care worker that works in a critical care area will have to admit that the use of an EHR is not only useful but it is safe, quick and has many resources that help in promoting patient safety. The EHR systems...
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