Articulate the national EHR mandate.
The ONC-Coordinated Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan: 2008-2012 outlines the goals, objectives, and strategies set forth by different federal agencies to help develop a new health information technology infrastructure. The objective of the plan is to develop a patient centered health care system that improves the health of communities and the Nation (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 2008).
After Hurricane Katrina, our Nation discovered how easy it was to lose paper health care information. This catastrophic event showcased the value of a national electronic health care system that would keep medical records safe in ...view middle of the document...
Describe the current plan and status of your healthcare facility.
I work for an orthopedic hospital that originally was part of a large healthcare organization. Through a joint venture with the original organization we created our own hospital dedicated to orthopedic care. Before we broke out on our own, we enjoyed an efficient electronic medical record system. This system coordinated and shared information with departments such as, laboratory, pharmacy, dietary, respiratory, physical therapy and others. It also allowed for computer charting by nurses and physicians.
The computer system that was put in place after we became a separate hospital was originally designed in the 1980s for use by financial institutions. This system was later modified to be used in healthcare. It is an expensive, inefficient system that frequently fails. The system is often down for maintenance, which results in the staff communicating with different departments by phone and fax. During these times the nurses resort to paper charting to document patient care.
Our system also does not communicate well with other departments. For example, if I place an order for a venous duplex I will need to call to verify the order was seen by the ultrasound department. This creates delays in care and is a patient safety issue. Another problem is with our lab interface. When blood samples have been collected and documented in the computer, the results will show as the time these labs were ordered. It will not show the time that they were received.
This has caused problems between nurses and physicians when a physician believes that he/she was not notified promptly of an abnormal lab result. As a result of this, nurses must spend additional time communicating with physicians, and documenting the facts of the story (Plemmons, 2012).
There are also difficulties in obtaining information from other health care facilities when we need information on a patient’s past procedures or tests. Frequently we must call another facility and obtain that information through fax transmittal. This creates a potential breach of confidentiality through telephone or fax. Each floor at our facility has one fax machine that is shared by everyone in the department. With multiple users sharing the same fax machine, you do not know who is going to reach the fax machine before you do. It would be better if there was a secure way to transmit information such as email (Morris & Thompson, 2012).
There are plans to upgrade our computer system so that it communicates better with other departments. We have been promised that the next upgrade will allow computer generated medication reconciliation forms, and discharge instructions. This will help prevent errors as the physician will check home going medications electronically instead of giving a verbal order to the discharge nurse. These upgrades were originally scheduled to occur last April. It has not happened yet, and we have not...