EMRs also was known as electronic medical records are a database system that are computed for paper charts which are composed of treatment and medical history of a patient that can be transmitted, accessed, stored, processed by any authorized interdisciplinary member of a team of health care professionals (McGonigle, & Mastrian, 2018). Electronic medical records can increase the responsiveness, coordination, effectiveness, and efficiency of the interdisciplinary team and better the provision of quality care. Besides, electronic medical records have the capability to better the safety of patients and minimize medical errors. Electronic medical records enable medical practitioners and doctors to stipulate time more effectively by minimizing the time that physicians would spend of secondary activities and use most of their time on activities and duties that can directly better the quality of care offered in hospitals (Pinsonneault, Addas, Qian, Dakshinamoorthy, & Tamblyn, 2017).
On the contrary to the paper-based patient records, electronic medical records facilitate easier and faster to summarize, search, graph, and share data (Hobson, 2017). Looking at the article written by Bae, Rask, & Becker (2018), electronic medical records do have the ability to offer more quick and accurate communication. This action and application lead to improving the flow of patients, faster responses, and fewer duplicative testing to inquiries of patients. IT systems or also known information technology systems promote quality improvement and patient safety through the application of alerts, checklists, and predictive tools that are embedded clinical guidelines which facilitate standardized and evidence-based practices; electronic test ordering and prescribing that minimizes redundancy and medical errors (Bae, Rask, & Becker, 2018). With all the health information of patients easily available when a medication is ordered or to be administered an electronic alert can warn the medical practitioner of contraindications, allergies, and improper dosings such as under-dosing or over-dosing a patient before anything wrong or harm reaches a patient. Moreover, electronic medical records are also a possible solution to minimize the events of patient safety by organizing and simplifying the health process.
Electronic medical records can also facilitate to unintended outcomes and consequences such as enabling new, unique safety and improving the incidence of adverse events of patient safety and errors in administering medicines and drugs (Bae, Rask, & Becker, 2018). This system and technology can only operate as well as the information computed into it that would be carried out by any member of the medical team. If the evidence of allergy is wrongly computed or not entered at all, it would never be detected or picked up to be alerted, and potentially facilitates medical errors. Accessing information of a patient through a computer is just as quick compared to how an emergency can take place but leaving the monitor of the computer open to patient information can lead to a confidentiality breach. It can be possible to breach a system, facilitating too many records of patients to be viewed and accessed unintentionally. Additionally, the technology or the system has a high probability to crash leaving no person to access the information of a patient while care requires being continuous. Lastly, this technology can have its limitations along with its benefits.
It is the duty and responsibility of a nurse to uphold and maintain the confidentiality of the information of a patient. This information is contained in the electronic medical records for legal purposes and is preserved by the code of ethics. If a nurse or a medical practitioner breaches this confidentiality, they may be held accountable through the monetary, disciplinary, and legal action by various stakeholders of the hospital such as Board of Nursing and the government (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). Nurses are only required to only access the electronic medical records of the patients in their direct health care for a particular shift. Applying their ethics and morals to act ethically and not acquire any information of a patient for any reason in which the given nurse is not assigned to. The other ethical and legal implication to electronic medical records is the ease of copying and pasting notes as an attempt to conserve and save time that could lead to wrong and incorrect data and information being applied to diminish the integrity of a medical practitioner (Balestra, 2017).
Apply the electronic medical system would have to be modified and adapted for vulnerable populations. According to Madden et al., 2016), there is wrong and incompetent information about patients in the electronic medical record system associated to mental illness due to information not passing through various systems when a patient seeks treatment by many system providers. The wrong and incompetent information can facilitate medical errors that would risk the safety of a patient. The senior citizens or the elderly may not be in a position to view and access their information and records in the portal of a patient if they are not computer literate. In the homeless population, there may exist incomplete information as well as if the patient seeks treatment in more than one healthcare facility.
Bae, J., Rask, K. J., & Becker, E. R. (2018). The impact of electronic medical records on hospital-acquired adverse safety events: Differential effects between single-source and multiple-source systems. American Journal Of Medical Quality, 33(1), 72-80.
Balestra, M. L. (2017). Electronic Health Records: Patient Care and Ethical and Legal Implications for Nurse Practitioners. Journal For Nurse Practitioners, (2), 105. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2016.09.010
Hobson, B. (2017). From rags to riches: Information and the electronic medical record. British Columbia Medical Journal, 59(9), 455-458.
Madden, J. M., Lakoma, M. D., Rusinak, D., Lu, C. Y., &Soumerai, S. B. (2016). Missing clinical and behavioral health data in a large electronic health record (EHR) system. Journal Of The American Medical Informatics Association, 23(6), 1143-1149. doi:10.1093/jamia/ocw021
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. (4th Ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Pinsonneault, A., Addas, S., Qian, C., Dakshinamoorthy, V., & Tamblyn, R. (2017). Integrated health information technology and the quality of patient care: A natural experiment. Journal Of Management Information Systems, 34(2), 457-486. doi:10.1080/07421222.2017.1334477
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