Maryland Hospital: Health IT Legislation and Regulations

Introduction

This memo is an analysis of the Health IT Legislation and regulations in the Maryland Hospital in the United States. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 offers the health sector the opportunity to introduce programs that promote health care safety, quality, and effectiveness via the advancement of health IT (Innocent, 2011). The identified health issue includes the policies advocating the use of certified Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

EHRs have undergone rapid changes over the past decade. The pace of transformation has largely increased since the introduction of the HITECH ACT. Besides, the application of the EHR incentive program requirements has assisted in generating improved significance in EHR functions. However, the pace of EHR adoption is not only dependent on technological issues but also legal factors and responsible care organizations.

Target audience

As the world’s health sector continues to encounter increasing demands to adopt a variety of quality improvement processes, the role and influence of IT in these activities is rising (Innocent, 2011). The target audience for this memo includes nurses, physicians, as well as all the support staff in the Maryland Hospital. The goal of modern hospitals is to ensure continued care through the incorporation of information technology and training. Quality medical care depends on proficient doctors and nurses as well as modern facilities and technology. According to Gordon (2012), without precise and easily accessible patient data, clinical personnel may not be in a good position to diagnose effectively.

How Health IT Legislation affects the health sector

The HITECH Act is a watershed in the US medical health policy. Coupled with a series of improvements to the multiple technologies that define the US healthcare sector, this Act introduces new features in the medical technology that have been missing for a long time. Based on the application of the EHR incentive program requirements, the ACT has various major goals. The first goal is to attain fairness, quality, and accessibility to medical health records.

The second goal is to reduce wait times in waiting rooms and increase efficiency in data storage. This move would reduce errors and wasteful spending on paperwork. When fully and appropriately implemented in the Maryland Hospital, the EHRs will cut the number of errors and delays by more than half. Approximately, the waiting time in the emergency rooms is expected to fall from one hour to less than thirty minutes under normal circumstances (Jensen & Leopard, 2011).

Since this hospital encounters challenges concerning IT, including scarcity of technology resources, difficulty engaging caregivers at all levels, duplication, and omissions, the bulky nature of data collection and analysis, it is essential to implement effective IT legislation. Sobel (2012) suggests that IT is a critical component in today’s care process because it can hugely promote the quality of care and patient out­comes. However, Maryland’s quest for quality patient care is partly dependent on its potential to establish and use IT resources effectively, which is presently challenging, as this change requires more skills and training of the medical staff. In widening the existing coverage, the EHR incentive program requirement seeks to cover all healthcare departments within the Maryland Hospital.

The influence on nursing procedures

The HITECH Act starts the task of realigning the medical sector for lasting changes in the nursing practice, health information accuracy, and quality provision. For instance, using IT technology, the EHRs provide accurate, comprehensive, updated, and easily accessible patient information (Schwartz, Magoulas, & Buntin, 2013). The advancements give the medical personnel an opportunity to provide quality treatment.

Patient records, such as X-rays, tests, and drug records, are highly secured within the EHR system. The EHR promotes record care that enables the hospital’s administration to operate smoothly. Unwanted registers are regularly archived, thus, keeping the current storages readily accessible. The EHR system also offers a history of the hospital’s progress and accountability, coupled with serving as a foundation for medical research.

The HITECH Act helps the nurses to engage in evidence-based decision-making practices. For instance, the EHRs provide quality and in-depth information based on population-specific data. The ease of accessibility of patient data improves the speed and quality of patient care because errors are minimized if not eliminated (Gordon, 2012). However, these technologies have relatively altered nursing procedures, particularly by improving them. Consequently, nurses have been compelled to seek further training to gain the relevant skills needed to execute their duties.

The influence on patient care

The HITECH Act enhances the patient-provider relationship. A good relationship fosters an environment of trust and cooperation hence promoting the patients’ wellbeing. In particular, the EHRs guarantee continuity of care by creating a path to the patients’ records and avoiding loss of data (Mitchell, 2013). This system ensures that providers can stay informed about a patient’s information via consistent communication. Besides, this process ensures that the quality of care is improved since the state of communication is effective and reliable.

The EHRs system is taking shape with the last change starting to build in the current healthcare sector. As the medical devices are continually developed with processing and Internet features, EHRs represent an effort to reframe the quality of care and stem the crisis that has enveloped medical records in the past. In addition to ensuring wide coverage of EHR technology and quality, the HITECH Act provides a higher level of accountability (Mitchell, 2013). Besides, the Act motivates the staff members to take part in innovative actions that facilitate quality health outcomes.

Implementing the change

The HITECH Act will transform the overall patient care system if implemented in this organization. Currently, the health care system is steadily introducing EHR. If implemented in this organization, EHR can create various platforms of knowledge, patient privacy, quick access to health services, and research. The implementation process should commence by assessing practice readiness (Sobel, 2012).

In this first phase, the change initiative must assess the current practices as well as the objectives of the project. The second phase entails determining the level of preparedness. The project can now create and implement a plan that addresses specific goals. Eligible health providers must implement certified EHR technology to attain quality health services. The third phase should entail training and pilot testing the certified EHR system. The final phase should involve demonstrating the successful use of EHRs by applying knowledge acquired during training.

Conclusion

The HITECH Act is transformational, and it demands serious attention to ensure successful implementation in the health care system. However, the opportunities for significant advances in public health are enormous. This Act presents many opportunities not only in promoting the quality of care but also in reframing the primary mission of public health in a state with diverse needs.

References

Gordon, L. (2012). Electronic health records and improved care. Health Affairs, 31(6), 1366-67.

Innocent, K. (2011). Going HITECH with electronic health records. Nursing Critical Care, 6(2), 45-47.

Jensen, D., & Leopard, A. (2011). The HITECH Act made easy: A simple guide to the federal EHR incentive programs. Nashville, TN: Portney Jones Press.

Mitchell, G. (2013). Implications of Holding Ideas of Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly, 26(2), 143-151.

Schwartz, A., Magoulas, R., & Buntin, M. (2013). Tracking labor demand with online job postings: the case of health it workers and the HITECH Act. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 52(4), 941-968.

Sobel, A. (2012). The move toward electronic health records. Computer, 45(11), 22-23.