Privacy of Electronic Medical Records

A service related health care organization with staff to patient ration of 1:100 can be described as acutely understaffed. This is a scenario where nurses and doctors are allocated more patients than they can handle efficiently. It puts patients at a danger of getting worse medically or even dying.

This is a situation where drug errors, diagnosis and other medical errors are likely to occur. Due to nurse attrition they may record wrong findings and measurements because of pressure to accomplish certain goals within limited time. In most cases understaffed organizations suffer lack of technological input where it is manifested by use of outdated methods of.

In a case where a hospital is understaffed, communication among doctors and other staff in such a hospital is poor thus leading to problems that have a ripple effect nature in the running of the institution. Administrative functions are hampered because most of the duties have to be executed manually.

The quality of health care is very poor because every patient is not given the proper personal attention that they require because other patients will be waiting for the physician that is attending to him or her. Lack of accuracy in writing medical records is commonplace for such an institution because writing the information manually can make someone feel worn out at some point and result in erratic writing.

Another cause for errors is the fact that some of the prescriptions or diagnoses are done in illegible handwriting giving a hard time to those who are supposed to act on them.

Patients’ mortality and morbidity rate is therefore high as a result. Due to the large number of patients that have to be attended to by one nurse, a problem of retrieval of medical information of the patients becomes a hectic task because files have to be searched manually.

This puts patients who need urgent treatment at a risk because time may be lost in trying to allocate their personal information which normally has their medical history and forms the basis on which the physicians act. In addition to this the files may be dilapidated because of wear and tear making the information blurred and illegible, and some of the materials could also get misplaced and scattered all over. All these problems summed up, lead to poor co-ordination in the hospital as well as inefficiencies in the administration.

Information technology is indispensable in any health organization because according to Jack Duncan it facilitates health care that is of high quality and is cost effective.

Through Electronic Medical Records, Once a patient visits the hospital they give their personal information and on diagnosis of their ailment, findings are recorded against the information as well as other details like prescriptions and orders to other health institutions. This technology ensures accuracy, precision and completeness. It is the same development that enables the creation of reminders and alerts for practitioners to administer drugs to patients thereby saving lives.

Electronic Medical records are advantageous in that with consent from patients, other health providers have access to their medical records. The advantage of having such a situation is that a patient is attended to in time since less time is used in finding out his or her medical history regardless of which health institution he or she has attended. Some patients call in hospital too sick to talk or are even subconscious but once some basic information is known about them like their identification, the physician goes right ahead with treatment without having to interview them.

Electronic medical records are kept by health organizations for reference and must be kept securely. It is a statutory requirement under state and federal laws for every health organization to keep them protected from access by unauthorized people (Barrows, Randolph and Clayton, Paul. 1996).

The security is for the protection of patients from victimization by employers because of certain health conditions or by their insurers. Disclosure of patients’ confidential information is capable of jeopardizing the integrity of the organization involved on account of defamation, medical malpractice and subjection of patients to emotional distress (Bennett, Bob. 1995).

A health care organization therefore has the legal obligation to provide security for any confidential medical information. Physicians are also not allowed to have access to a patient’s medical record without their consent. Electronic technology enhances efficiency in the storage of medical records as well as accessibility.

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