An electronic health record (EHR) is defined as the digital version of patients’ paper charts. The technology is real-time, patient-centered, and it avails records instantly and securely to approved users. Within the last decade, medical facilities have consistently used this software to manage efficiency during practice (Robson et al., 2020). Therefore, the benefits of EHR systems have become more understood resulting in increased use of the technology. This essay provides a detailed summary of the advantages of EHRs and gives a rationale for why the solution effectively addresses the increased nurse practitioners’ (NP) workload. It also describes legal and ethical concerns related to its usage.
Summary of the Benefits of EHRs
EHR consolidates patients’ medical charts into digital documents; they contain updated client details that can be retrieved by authorized personnel in real-time. Moreover, EHR systems store data on medications, medical history, radiology images, treatment plans, and laboratory results of clients to help physicians and care providers make informed decisions on their care. EHR systems have several advantages – they help deliver better services to patients by allowing quick access to client records and health analytics, leading to more efficient care. Digital records eliminate the risk of alteration, theft, damage, and misplacement of sensitive data. Moreover, they enable health professionals to exchange actual-time data remotely, ensuring that all clinicians handling a patient have complete, accurate, and current facts (Rathert et al., 2019). Consequently, these systems minimize the time spent on office visits and appointments without foregoing patient-centeredness, increasing the number of clients healthcare providers see daily. Lastly, EHR provides on-site 24/7 customer support that significantly reduces IT costs in the hospital. From, the above analysis it is evident that this technology will help minimize workload and improve efficiency during practice.
Why EHRs can Address the Identified Clinical Problem
The identified practice-related problem reported was the increased NPs workload because of workforce shortage. EHRs are suitable for resolving the aforementioned issue since they increase workplace efficiency (Robson et al., 2020). This innovation will not only allow NPs to give accurate diagnosis and treatment; it will also minimize the time NPs spend during care delivery. Care providers can effectively update patient records in the system in real-time, allowing other professionals to have a streamlined patient file. Artificial intelligence is also being incorporated into EHR systems to assist health workers with diagnosing and interpreting historical client records. Subsequently, NPs can improve clinical visits and appointments while maintaining a patient-centered approach.
Consequently, workers will be able to treat more patients in a day, thereby reducing the NPs’ workload. Furthermore, EHRs contain built-in templates, which help medical practitioners document regular patient complains and issues (Robson et al., 2020). These technologies above are tailored to fit the individual needs or specific NP roles during practice. From the above analysis, it is evident that adopting the EHR system will improve the effectiveness and quality of healthcare delivery by minimizing NPs’ workload.
Legal or Regulatory and Ethical Issues Related to EHRs
Although EHRs facilitate numerous advances that aim at reforming healthcare, there are many unanswered legal and ethical concerns that threaten the adoption and use of this technology. The tool stores unlimited amounts of instantly accessible and legible information that can cause data overload, leading to a legal liability associated with healthcare providers overlooking critical findings despite the reliable documentation access (Balestra, 2017). An ethical dilemma related to EHRs’ use is computer-based personal health information breaches, which raise complexities about the appropriateness of available methods to address them. For example, an employee can urgently pull away from their workstation while still logged in, giving bystanders a chance to access multiple patient records. Lastly, EHR implementation will generate data that will help rationalize and redesign care delivery and payment.
In summation, electronic health records are meant for storing and sharing information with other healthcare organizations and providers across the field, including specialists, laboratories and emergency facilities. Therefore, they contain data from all professionals involved in the care of a patient to automate and streamline medical workers’ workflow. A vital feature of the technology above is that it allows the creation and management of health information in a digital manner by authorized personnel only. Therefore, despite its setbacks, EHRs are a secure way of retrieving accurate patient information.
Balestra, M. L. (2017). Electronic health records: Patient care and ethical and legal implications for nurse practitioners. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 13(2), 105–111.
Rathert, C., Porter, H., Mittler, N., & Fleig-Palmer, M. (2019). Seven years after meaningful use: Physicians’ and nurses’ experiences with electronic health records. Health Care Management Review, 44(1), 30–40.
Robson, J., Boomla, K., & Hull, A. (2020). Progress in using the electronic health record to improve primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 70(692), 215–220.