Electronic Health Records and Patient Safety Studies


This paper concerns the relationship between electronic health records and patient safety. It incorporates a literature review regarding the issue and identifies the methodology behind the prospective study and its sampling procedures. The paper also identifies the tools that will be necessary to conduct the investigation. The review investigates five articles that discuss a variety of concerns and possibilities surrounding electronic health records. No algorithms or flowmaps have been created for the study, and therefore the section is omitted from the document. However, several possible improvements have been identified for the research.

Literature Review

The first topic of the review was an investigation on the impact of electronic health records on patient safety and the reasons behind the influences. According to Mold et al. (2015), the tools increased patient safety due to the improvement of their self-care abilities and the existence of health maintenance reminders. The ease of access to data that is stored in an online format allows many people to take advantage of accurate and helpful information. As a result, the tools tend to contribute to safety significantly and improve outcomes.

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However, some challenges exist with regards to electronic health record usage, especially where privacy is concerned. Cifuentes et al. (2015) mention difficulties with data storage and interoperability between different databases that make it challenging to record information and communicate it to other teams. Sittig et al. (2018) note that many healthcare providers do not adhere to existing safety recommendations thoroughly.

However, Singh and Sittig (2016) propose improvements such as improved measurement and accountability for both vendors and users of electronic health record solutions. Most of the current issues are caused by a lack of an overall guiding process, and a unified regulatory policy will likely increase safety considerably.

The matter of safety is often mentioned in discussions that surround electronic health records. Virtual databases are prone to data breaches, and a person’s medical information is highly private and confidential. As such, the expectation that patients would oppose the implementation of the technology is logical. However, Alkureishi et al. (2016) claim that they observed no change in patient satisfaction or their relationships with doctors. Mold et al. (2015) report increased satisfaction due to the convenience of electronic health record usage. While data privacy is a valid concern that is becoming more popular among consumers, it does not affect their attitudes significantly.

Methodology and Design

The study’s design will be a cross-sectional survey, recording the changes that occur at a healthcare provider after the implementation of a set of safety guidelines. It will document the responses of both patients and medical workers, asking different questions of each category. Patients will be surveyed about their satisfaction and trust regarding electronic health records. Workers will submit information about the influence of the system on the ease and quality of their work, noting any particular challenges. By collecting the data before the change and after it, the study should be able to discover significant improvements if they exist.

Sampling Methodology

The study does not concern a specific group of individuals with a shared condition or test the validity of a treatment. Therefore, it can collect information from all workers and patients, though the opinions of people who interact with electronic health records closely are the most valuable. Such persons include patients who use them for information and medical workers who make, access, and edit the entries in the database. While the institution’s staff is unlikely to change significantly after the implementation of the new policies, patients may not return in the short term. Thus, the study should compare staff opinions individually and as a whole but treat patients as a homogeneous group.

Necessary Tools

The research will require the use of two separate questionnaires: one for patients and another for the staff. The former will discuss awareness of safety and privacy concerns, trust, and satisfaction. The latter will concern ease of use, issues encountered during interactions, and aspects that should be improved. The study will also require a specific comprehensive set of recommendations that the provider will use. It should address a variety of issues, focusing on patient safety, but its suggestions should not be prohibitively difficult or expensive to implement. These tools should be sufficient for the study, enabling the collection of meaningfully different information in relevant contexts.

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Conclusion

There are issues with regards to the use of electronic health records, but they are mostly concentrated on the provider’s side. Patients do not consider possible concerns significant and appreciate the benefits of the system. Healthcare workers express a variety of opinions, but providers tend to introduce improvements slow or inadequately. As such, this paper proposes an experiment where a healthcare provider will implement a set of recommendations into its electronic health records. The attitudes of patients and workers will then be compared with those before the change. The study should provide valuable information on the usefulness of various improvements and the opinions of relevant parties.

References

Alkureishi, M. A., Lee, W. W., Lyons, M., Press, V. G., Imam, S., Nkansah-Amankra, A.,… & Arora, V. M. (2016). Impact of electronic medical record use on the patient–doctor relationship and communication: A systematic review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 31(5), 548-560.

Cifuentes, M., Davis, M., Fernald, D., Gunn, R., Dickinson, P., & Cohen, D. J. (2015). Electronic health record challenges, workarounds, and solutions observed in practices integrating behavioral health and primary care. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 28(Supplement 1), S63-S72.

Mold, F., de Lusignan, S., Sheikh, A., Majeed, A., Wyatt, J. C., Quinn, T.,… & Kataria, N. (2015). Patients’ online access to their electronic health records and linked online services: A systematic review in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 65(632), e141-e151.

Singh, H., & Sittig, D. F. (2016). Measuring and improving patient safety through health information technology: The Health IT Safety Framework. BMJ Quality & Safety, 25(4), 226-232.

Sittig, D. F., Salimi, M., Aiyagari, R., Banas, C., Clay, B., Gibson, K. A.,… & Sirajuddin, A. M. (2018). Adherence to recommended electronic health record safety practices across eight health care organizations. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 25(7), 913-918.

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