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Communication and Information Technology
Nowadays, technologies for communication in health care are developing rapidly. In turn, health care is aimed at providing affordable medical care for nation, and improving people’s health. A new technology, such as electronic medical records made it possible to gather and keep the medical history of a patient and clearly examine patients’ medical records, for instance, diagnoses, list of appointments, etc.
Thus, this paper introduces the information on a new technology for communication, such as electronic medical records. It explores and observes how it affects communication in health care, considers how efficient and effective communication is with this technology, its advantages and disadvantages, its influence on consumers, and the technology’s short- and long-term financial impact on organizations, and identifies any technological improvements that could still be made in the future with this new technology and why.
To start with, an electronic medical record is a core of health information systems qMS. All medical information collected during a person’s life is stored in a patient’s electronic medical record. Moreover, an electronic medical record is a single storage of medical information that is designed to maintain, store, search, and provide personal health records.
The electronic medical record includes:
• Electronic medical records – medical examinations, consultations of specialists, nurses, records, test results, studies and so on;
• Prescription – all kinds of appointments in cases of patient care (laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, medications, including discounted prescriptions, consulting, etc.);
• The results of laboratory and instrumental studies – scanned and digital images, integration of systems with laboratory systems and storage of medical images (graphic files, scanned images, digital photos);
A short list of electronic medical records’ features:
1. An ability to quickly and easily enter information about the patient;
2. Provides secure access to EMRs;
3. Allows to view the medical history of a patient and quickly find the information in large volumes of medical records;
4. Makes it possible to form different certificates, medical records, references, then print them and keep a copy of these documents;
5. Allows to set up convenient protocols for physicians of any specialty;
6. Allows to attach various documents, such as voice messages;
7. Allows to electronically send a patient’s electronic medical record in a format that is viewable on any computer.
Observing how efficient and effective communication is with this technology, it should be mentioned that though most physicians are satisfied with electronic medical records since they disengage them from communicating with the patient face to face and they decrease the time to prepare the patient’s synopsis, improving communication efficiency, but despite this fact electronic medical records do not provide live communication between a doctor and a patient, which is a big drawback.
Talking about electronic medical records, it is necessary to mention about its advantages and disadvantages. According to Benin et al. (2005), “Electronic medical records (EMRs) are being used increasingly as tools for assessing quality of healthcare and may offer substantial advantages” (p. 691).
The major advantages include as follows: patients will be able to obtain more objective and accurate information. Moreover, all information will be available to consumers on demand. The advantage of this program is also an opportunity to make an appointment with the doctor through a call-center. The major disadvantages consist of the following: there is a fear that this innovation will hardly adapt to the community because the main visitors to clinics are the elderly who are not really good at different communication and information technologies and it is difficult for them to master these ones. In addition, the patients worry about the privacy and confidentiality of their information.
Talking about the short- and long-term financial impact on organizations, it is possible to state that this is not an easy task to implement electronic medical record systems. This is due to the fact that this is expensive to install and maintain such a system. “Barriers to adoption include high costs, lack of certification and standardization, concerns about privacy and a disconnect between who pays for EMR systems and who profits from them” (Hillestad et al., 2005, p. 1104). Thus, the task of implementing electronic medical records is not an easy one and requires money investment. But despite this fact these systems will bring the benefits and save money in the long-term perspective.
In addition, it is necessary to mention about technological improvements that could still be made in the future with this new technology. There are a lot of standards concerning electronic medical records’ operations within the USA and across the world. These consist of the following: Continuity of Care Record that was implemented by ASTM International, record keeping in radiology, patient billing, Health Level 7, Doctor’s Partner, Practice Partner Patient Records that is an innovative tool used by clinicians in small practices. Making recommendations, it should be said that electronic medical records will bring the benefits and reduce healthcare costs if use them in a proper way.
Taking the above-mentioned information into consideration, it is possible to draw a conclusion that an electronic medical record is an effective and important tool in the healthcare process. An electronic medical record is aimed at reducing medical errors, and minimizing healthcare costs.