In the move toward electronic health records for patient’s there are obstacles that have to be addressed, procedures implemented into the process, and security maintained at the highest level. Electronic Health Records Electronic health records (EHR) are often confused in terminology with electronic medical records and the two are vastly different with only a few similarities.

Electronic medical records are the culmination of medical information of patients in one office. Electronic health records are designed to follow the patient wherever they receive care to build a complete history of care, treatment, and diagnoses to allow accurate care. EHR’s design is to be shared with any provider, health care system or organization, and ancillary provider to easily share the patient’s health history.

This culmination of information follows the patient to any facility in town, in the state, or in the country to provide the most effective history on the patient. Effects of Electronic Health Records The long-term effects of implementing electronic health records currently is still an unknown because there is still a lot of work to be done to create a nationally accepted method for collecting this data. Studies show the positive and negative effects of implementing EHRs.

Health care information technology (IT) can have a negative effect if the system is not designed for effective use by the clinicians. “Health IT can be a contributing factor to adverse events, such as the overdosing of patients because of poor user interface design, failing to detect life threatening illnesses because of unclear information displays, and delays in treatment because of the loss of data. Adverse events, such as these, have led to serious injuries and death” (Murphy, 2012, p. 1).

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Positive effects of the EHR are focusing on the creation of an inclusive health record for the clinical use of multiple providers all accessing the full history of the patient’s care. When there is a complete record on the patient then the effects of quality increase for the patient’s care. Convenience and increased patient participation are positive effects from using EHRs. When a patient is more involved in the data documented about them they become more willing to share information they might not otherwise want another person to know.

Certain diagnoses go undocumented because of the stigma associated with them. Sexually transmitted diseases, Human immunodeficiency virus infection / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and cancer diagnoses may go unreported if the patient thinks they will get lesser care from a provider. Improving accuracy of diagnoses and creating the care for the patient around that diagnoses is another positive.

Having multiple involved caregivers seeing the same exact information will better the care all providers give. Privacy and Security In modern medicine there are more issues facing providers than a bad diagnoses or doing surgery on the wrong limb. Hackers can wreak havoc on health records if they are not stored with proper safeguards. Using the electronic health record correctly and within the parameters established is imperative to protecting electronic protected health information (e-PHI).

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The federal government established the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to establish “a set of national standards for the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information – often called protected health information (PHI) – by covered entities, as well as standards for providing individuals’ with health information privacy rights and helping individuals understand and control how their health information is used” (“Privacy,” n. d. , p. 1). Privacy and security requirements apply to different mediums of the health record if kept electronically or on paper.

Applying HIPAA to Electronic Health Records Applying HIPAA federal regulations to EHRs is a requirement. Safeguarding a patient’s health care information is essential when utilizing EHRs. Creating passwords or PIN numbers creates limited access to the people who access the health record. Encrypting the EHR makes it unreadable to anyone without the correct decrypting software. This process is constantly changing because of hackers that have figured out the encryption and illegally access the health record for the protected health information (PHI).

Also creating a log of the people who have accesses the health record and when and what information was changed. There is no way around applying HIPAA to the EHR or the use of the EHR.

References Integrating Privacy & Security Into Your Practice. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. healthit. gov/providers-professionals/ehr-privacy-security/practice-integration Murphy, K. (2012). Study shows health IT’s positive, negative effects on safety. Retrieved from http://ehrintelligence. com/2012/09/17/study-shows-health-it%E2%80%99s-positive-negative-effects-on-safety/