Hebda, Hunter and Czar (2019) identify three types of data that is currently being tracked by organizations (p. 46)
Theory of health care informatics
1. Electronic health records (EHRs) are easier to read than the paper charts of the past, but many complain that healthcare providers are focusing too much on the computer screen instead of the patient.
- Is this due to lack of skill or training, poor computer system design, or just the nature of computer charting?
- Is patient care suffering from the implementation of EHRs?
- Charting in an EHR consist of clicking boxes, do you feel this provides enough detail about the patient, condition, and events if there was a law suit
2. Hebda, Hunter and Czar (2019) identify three types of data that is currently being tracked by organizations (p. 46).
- Identify and explain another type of data, specific to your practice, that is being tracked by an organization.
- Why do you feel this data is important to track?
- Identify and discuss the organization that is tracking the data.
- Are there any ethical concerns with an outside organization tracking this data, explain and give examples?
3. In this week’s discussion post, you identified and explain the topic selected for the project.
- Provide a description of your selected topic based on input from the discussion forum. What is your project, why is it relevant to this class, and why is it important to you?
- Identify an informatics/healthcare theory from pages 29-30 of the textbook that aligns with the project and explain why.
Expert Answer and Explanation
Theory of Healthcare Informatics
Like any other new concept in healthcare, healthcare informatics is associated with different problems that limit its use in patient care. An improvement in the overall presentation of data in electronic health records could guarantee better success in the healthcare outcomes (Cowie et al., 2017). Data management is a crucial idea that should be treated with utmost care, as the exposure of patient data to unauthorized individuals is not only unethical, but could cause significant harm on patients.
EHR Causing Too Much Focus on Machines Rather than on Patients
Cause of the Over-emphasis on Computer Screen by Health Experts
Some healthcare givers focus too much on the computer screen instead of patients when using electronic health records because most of them are yet to be fully acquainted with the computer system. Also, the nature of computer charting requires full concentration lest the healthcare givers would make large mistakes in feeding the patient information (Kruse et al., 2017). Unlike the traditional charting techniques where one fills patient information in their files without much calculations and involvements, computer charting requires one to be fully engaged in the process, and this makes it hard to give patients full concentration.
Suffering of Patient Care under EHR Implementation
Patient care is not suffering from EHR implementation as the benefits of EHR systems exceed the limitations. One of the main advantages of having electronic health records is the fact that they help in faster patient information processing as well as accuracy in data collection and management. The drawbacks can also be corrected using basic maintenance procedures.
The Insufficiency of Clicking on Boxes in the Charting Process
Clicking boxes in EHR charting process is one of the reasons why patient details are not captured in full. There should be more options for filling patient information such as using prose format to capture details of patient’s condition. This can also help in safeguarding the safety of the healthcare givers in the case of a lawsuit.
Types of Data Tracking by Hebda, Hunter, and Czar (2019)
Type of Data Specific to My Organization and the Importance of Tracking It
The incidence rate of various disease outbreaks is one of the primary data that is being tracked by organizations outside the facility. Tracking this data helps to implement national and international policies on disease control, such as in the case of the coronavirus pandemic. It also helps in improving the preparedness of healthcare facilities in managing patient care in different situations such as pandemics.
Organization Tracking the Data
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the organizations that track the data. This organization serves as a major health protection agency where it identifies health, security and safety threats early enough to allow corrective action (Yang et al., 2020). It also helps to promote vaccination and health education campaigns that reduce the overall vulnerable communities (Yang et al., 2020).
Ethical Concerns of the Tracking
The CDC always obtains consent from the parties responsible for the data, and hence there are no major ethical concerns in tracking data. Besides, most of the data collected does not display personal information of the patient populations, as it is only used for research purposes (Rahimi et al., 2018). Nevertheless, there is need to put up more regulations to reduce the chances of misuse of patient data by external organizations.
Topic Selected for the Project
Description of Topic Selected and Its Relevance
The topic selected for the project is ‘the influence of health informatics nurses on behavior change.’ This topic is relevant in that there are many ways in which nurses today have integrated health informatics into care, but it is not clear how they can achieve the right levels of behavior change (Wu et al., 2019). Specifically, there is need to identify areas in informatics that can serve as better channels of achieving positive behavior change among nurses.
The behavior change model can be applied in healthcare informatics by using its concepts to assess how a health informatics intervention influences the patients (Medlock & Wyatt, 2019). The theory shows how nurses can respond to patient needs in a timely fashion and tailor their behaviors and those of the patients to suit the informatics demands. Applying this theory in the topic can help in gaining more insight about the project.
Health informatics is one of the most discussed topics in nursing, and has helped nursing experts to grow their ability to deliver healthcare solutions. Among the changes that should be made to improve the nature of electronic health records is increasing the platform for collecting further details about patients. The CDC is an organization that tracks most of the data in my organization for the purpose of management of healthcare on a broader context such as regional and national levels. A research on healthcare informatics can be improved by using a suitable informatics theory such as the behavior change theory.
Cowie, M. R., Blomster, J. I., Curtis, L. H., Duclaux, S., Ford, I., Fritz, F., & Michel, A. (2017). Electronic Health Records to Facilitate Clinical Research. Clinical Research in Cardiology, 106(1), 1-9. DOI 10.1007/s00392-016-1025-6
Kruse, C. S., Smith, B., Vanderlinden, H., & Nealand, A. (2017). Security Techniques for the Electronic Health Records. Journal of medical systems, 41(8), 127. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10916-017-0778-4
Medlock, S., & Wyatt, J. C. (2019). Health Behavior Theory in Health Informatics: Support for Positive Change. Studies in health technology and informatics, 263, 146-158. DOI: 10.3233/SHTI190119
Rahimi, B., Nadri, H., Afshar, H. L., & Timpka, T. (2018). A Systematic Review of the Technology Acceptance Model in Health Informatics. Applied clinical informatics, 9(3), 604. Doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1668091
Wu, D. T., Chen, A. T., Manning, J. D., Levy-Fix, G., Backonja, U., Borland, D., & Kandaswamy, S. (2019). Evaluating Visual Analytics for Health Informatics Applications: A Systematic Review from the American Medical Informatics Association Visual Analytics Working Group Task Force on Evaluation. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 26(4), 314-323. https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocy190
Yang, L., Weston, C., Cude, C., & Kincl, L. (2020). Evaluating Oregon’s Occupational Public Health Surveillance System Based on The CDC Updated Guidelines. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23139
Why is EHR better than paper charts?
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) offer several advantages over traditional paper charts in healthcare settings. Here are some key reasons why EHRs are considered better:
- Accessibility and Availability:
- EHRs provide instant access to patient information from any authorized location, facilitating timely and coordinated care. In contrast, paper charts may be physically located in different departments, causing delays in retrieving crucial data.
- Information Accuracy and Legibility:
- EHRs reduce the risk of errors associated with illegible handwriting or incomplete documentation. Typed and standardized data in electronic records improve accuracy and ensure that healthcare providers have complete and legible information.
- Efficient Data Management:
- EHRs allow for efficient organization, storage, and retrieval of patient data. Electronic systems provide search and indexing capabilities, making it easy to locate specific information quickly. This contrasts with paper charts, which may require manual searching and sorting.
- Interoperability and Communication:
- EHRs support seamless communication and information exchange between different healthcare providers and institutions. This interoperability enhances care coordination, reduces redundant tests, and ensures a more comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history.
- Decision Support Tools:
- EHRs often come equipped with decision support tools, such as alerts for potential drug interactions or reminders for preventive care. These features assist healthcare providers in making informed decisions and adhering to best practices.
- Security and Privacy:
- EHRs provide enhanced security measures to protect patient information, including access controls, encryption, and audit trails. This is in contrast to paper charts, which can be easily compromised or lost, posing a risk to patient privacy.
- Efficiency and Productivity:
- Electronic records streamline various administrative tasks, such as billing and coding, leading to increased efficiency and reduced paperwork. This allows healthcare professionals to spend more time on patient care rather than managing paperwork.
- Scalability and Adaptability:
- EHR systems can easily adapt to changing healthcare standards and regulations. They also accommodate the increasing volume of patient data, ensuring scalability as healthcare organizations grow.
- Remote Access:
- EHRs enable authorized healthcare providers to access patient records remotely, promoting telemedicine and improving the continuity of care, especially in situations where physical presence is challenging.
- Data Analytics and Research:
- EHRs facilitate data analytics and research by providing a large pool of structured and standardized data. This can lead to insights that contribute to advancements in medical knowledge and improved patient outcomes.
In summary, EHRs offer a more efficient, accurate, and secure way to manage patient information compared to traditional paper charts, contributing to enhanced patient care and overall healthcare system effectiveness.
What is the difference between a patient’s paper chart and an electronic health record?
The main differences between a patient’s paper chart and an electronic health record (EHR) lie in the format, accessibility, and functionality of the two systems. Here are key distinctions:
- Paper Chart: Traditional patient charts are physical documents containing handwritten or typed notes, test results, and other relevant medical information. These charts are typically kept in file cabinets and folders.
- Electronic Health Record (EHR): EHRs are digital versions of patient health records. Information is stored electronically, allowing for easy updating, retrieval, and sharing among authorized healthcare providers.
- Paper Chart: Physical charts are typically kept in specific locations, and access is limited to those with direct physical proximity to the records. Retrieving information from paper charts may take time and effort.
- EHR: Electronic records offer instant access to authorized users from various locations. Healthcare providers can access patient information in real-time, promoting quicker decision-making and improved coordination of care.
- Legibility and Standardization:
- Paper Chart: Handwritten notes and entries may be prone to illegibility, leading to potential misunderstandings and errors. Standardization of data is challenging with paper-based systems.
- EHR: Typed and standardized data in EHRs improve legibility and consistency. This facilitates better communication among healthcare providers and ensures a more accurate and complete patient record.
- Updates and Changes:
- Paper Chart: Updating paper charts involves physically writing or adding new information. This process can be time-consuming and may lead to delays in accessing the most recent patient data.
- EHR: Information in EHRs can be updated instantly, providing a real-time view of the patient’s health history. This allows healthcare providers to make informed decisions based on the latest available information.
- Communication and Interoperability:
- Paper Chart: Sharing information from paper charts often requires physical transport or copying of documents, which can be inefficient and may result in delays.
- EHR: Electronic records support seamless communication and data exchange between different healthcare providers and systems, enhancing care coordination and reducing the likelihood of duplicated tests or treatments.
- Security and Privacy:
- Paper Chart: Physical records are susceptible to loss, damage, or unauthorized access. Security measures are limited to physical safeguards, such as locked file cabinets.
- EHR: EHRs incorporate advanced security features, including access controls, encryption, and audit trails, to protect patient information and maintain confidentiality.
- Efficiency and Productivity:
- Paper Chart: Managing paper-based records involves manual tasks, such as filing, sorting, and searching, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
- EHR: Electronic systems streamline administrative processes, reducing paperwork and allowing healthcare providers to focus more on patient care.
In summary, while both paper charts and EHRs serve the purpose of documenting patient information, EHRs offer advantages in terms of accessibility, accuracy, efficiency, and security, ultimately contributing to improved patient care and healthcare system effectiveness.
Why paper charts are inadequate for modern healthcare?
Paper charts are considered inadequate for modern healthcare due to several limitations that hinder efficiency, accuracy, and the seamless delivery of patient care. Here are key reasons why paper charts fall short in the context of contemporary healthcare:
- Limited Accessibility:
- Paper charts are physically stored in specific locations, making access challenging for healthcare providers who are not in close proximity. This limitation can lead to delays in retrieving critical patient information, especially in urgent situations.
- Reduced Efficiency:
- Managing and updating paper charts involves manual tasks, such as writing, filing, and sorting. This manual process is time-consuming and can contribute to inefficiencies in healthcare workflows. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) streamline these tasks, allowing for quicker and more efficient data management.
- Illegibility and Standardization Issues:
- Handwritten notes in paper charts may be illegible or vary in style, leading to potential misinterpretations and errors. Standardizing data is challenging with paper charts, making it difficult to maintain consistency in documentation.
- Limited Communication and Coordination:
- Paper charts hinder effective communication and coordination among healthcare providers. Sharing information often requires physical transport or copying of documents, which can result in delays and may contribute to fragmented care.
- Risk of Data Loss or Damage:
- Paper charts are susceptible to loss, damage, or deterioration over time. Natural disasters, accidents, or theft can compromise the integrity of patient records, leading to potential loss of critical health information.
- Inability to Support Remote Access:
- With the growing trend of telemedicine and remote healthcare services, the lack of electronic access to patient information in paper charts poses a significant challenge. EHRs allow for secure remote access, ensuring continuity of care regardless of location.
- Difficulty in Tracking Changes and Updates:
- Updating information in paper charts requires manual entries and may not always be promptly reflected. This can result in discrepancies between the actual patient status and the information available in the chart, potentially leading to medical errors.
- Lack of Decision Support Tools:
- Paper charts lack the integrated decision support tools found in EHRs. These tools provide alerts for potential drug interactions, reminders for preventive care, and other valuable information that can aid healthcare providers in making informed decisions.
- Challenges in Data Analysis and Research:
- Extracting meaningful insights from paper-based records for research purposes is cumbersome and time-intensive. EHRs facilitate data analytics, allowing for more efficient and comprehensive analysis of healthcare trends and outcomes.
- Regulatory Compliance Challenges:
- Modern healthcare is subject to a myriad of regulations and standards. Paper charts may pose challenges in adhering to these regulations, such as secure data storage, privacy requirements, and reporting standards.