Let us look at the other side of the fence now. Acquiring the whole electronic health record system involves a lot of many and trainings for those who will be authorized to operate the system. Dr. Baron with the other authors of the online journal titled, Electronic Health Records: Just around the Corner? or over the Cliff? , identified five major issues in the implementation of the electronic health record system in a community-based medical institution.
These major issues—“financing; interoperability, standardization, and connectivity of clinical information systems; help with redesign of work flow; technical support and training; and help with change in management (Baron, R. , et. al. , 2005)—must be addressed to assure the success of the implementation of the electronic health record system. The cost of the software and hardware requirements of the electronic health record system is quite huge. For a community-based medical institution, like that of Dr.
Baron and his doctor colleagues, a financial crisis is really possible. Redesigning an office that is basically okay, again involves money issues. Knowledge on this new technology is necessary so the doctors had undergone trainings to equip themselves with the needed skills. And again, the doctors paid for their trainings. The introduction of the electronic health record system had totally changed the way these doctors manage the community-based medical institution. In the patients’ side, some were amazed, some were not.
Especially during the first few months of utilizing the electronic health record system, the months where the doctors were still familiarizing themselves with the whole new electronic process, patients had observed that doctors literally had more time with the new technology than with the patients. Randa Upham listed some of the problems or some resistances to the implementation of the electronic health record. These include the following (Upham 2004): • Resistance among clinicians. A clinician is a medical practitioner who performs clinical tasks instead of doing laboratory works.
The implementation of the electronic health record system ensures added tasks for clinicians. If information is not properly disseminated, medical practitioners resist the implementation of the EHR system. • Clinical charting in the EHR system consumes more time compared to clinical charting with the usual pen-and-paper method. Since there would be added tasks for the medical practitioners, they would prepare the old style of doing clinical charting than the electronic style. • Insufficient budget. Implementation of the electronic health record system requires a lot of money. This is similar to Dr. Baron’s case in the previous paragraph.
Small hospital institutions are incapable of shouldering all the expenses. • Inability to align current workflow with the standardized electronic health record system. Manual documentation and recording are different from electronic documentation and recording. The new system, EHR has a different workflow. Medical practitioners have to undergone trainings in order to learn the ways of the EHR system. The Guide SAGE Software Healthcare shares six ways on how to help hospital institutions in evaluating their software vendor for the electronic health record system. These are: 1. Conduct regular meetings with the vendor and the hospital staffs.
Discuss in the meetings any problem encountered using the electronic health record system. Make sure the answers to the queries are satisfying. And have the vendor provide clear and accurate solutions to the problems. 2. Analyze the product offerings of all vendors of the electronic health record system. Choose the vendor that has been serving medical institutions for a longer time. Choose also vendors that conduct comprehensive trainings. 3. During vendors’ product presentation, make sure to try out everything. It is advisable to make a list of the features of each vendor. Then compare this with the product offering of other vendors.
Short-list the vendors that meet the medical institution’s requirement for an electronic health record system. 4. Determine who among the vendors are willing to customize the system to agree with the medical institution’s requirement. 5. Declare a deadline. Determine who among the vendors are fast to put into operation the electronic health record system. 6. With the members of the team assigned to evaluate the electronic health record systems provided by different vendors, consider the following issues: long-term functionality, good value proposition for the amount of money allotted for the system, and conduct trainings for the employees.