An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a system that drives many aspects of healthcare services. Therefore, several functional considerations should be considered when implementing it for effective functioning (Sittig et al., 2018). Firstly, it is vital to clarify the problems or challenges the system is intended to solve to select the best software. For example, different health problems require different types of Software. Another consideration is the cost of the system. The cost needs to be effective such that its maintenance will be possible. Lastly, it is crucial to consider legal factors, such as data integrity and security, the confidentiality of patients’ information, and ownership.
An EHR system is a technology prone to security and privacy issues; therefore, the major regulatory considerations for implementing it are the security of patients’ health information and privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act regularize patient information security and confidentiality. Organizations implementing the technology must ensure that they adhere to the HITECH Act of security and privacy of patient information. For example, under the HIPPA Act, organizations using the EHR system should not disclose patients’ information to third parties without the patient’s permission. Therefore, health organizations need to find ways of adhering to the rules.
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Interoperability refers to the ability of various EHR systems to share information. It involves the systems put in place sharing useful information between different providers. It is crucial in various ways. Firstly, it improves the transfer of information, improving workflow. When providers can easily share patients’ information faster and accurately, workflow is improved to deliver quality services and in time. Secondly, it helps in delivering quality healthcare overall. For instance, diagnosis and treatment become easier because providers can access patients’ data whenever needed. This improves the quality of services delivered because time is saved and correct details are used.
Data integrity refers to data accuracy, reliability, and quality (Vimalachandran et al., 2018). In medical terms, it is the accurateness and completeness of patients’ information documented in the EHR system. It is vital for health practitioners always to ensure data integrity because it determines the quality of health patients receive. Inaccurate data might mislead everything from diagnosis to treatment and medications, leading to poor health services. Such steps can even cause death to the patient because they can be affected if they are prescribed the wrong medications. Thus, ensuring data integrity helps in delivering the best outcomes for patients through offering high-quality services.
An EHR system is like any other technology, prone to security issues. Therefore, ensuring the security of patients’ data is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, it helps in ensuring patients’ data is only accessible to authorized persons. Some information could be sensitive, and exposing it could expose patients to problems. Secondly, it helps a facility adhere to regulatory measures without breaching. It is important as it also safeguards the reputation of a health care facility. Overall, data security is vital in safeguarding sensitive information and avoiding the manipulation of patients’ data.
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While EHRs are essential in delivering quality health care services, legal concerns must be considered when implementing them. One of them is ensuring the security and privacy of patient data, as required by HIPPA and HITECH laws. Violating these laws can attract legal charges, subjecting the facility to legal malpractice. Another legal concern is the suitability of the staff employed to work with the systems. Successful implementation of the systems depends on the staff because they can deliver successful results if they know how to operate them. Besides, the appropriate staff ensures that the system is not flawed, reducing exposure to malpractices.
Sittig, D. F., Belmont, E., & Singh, H. (2018). Improving the safety of health information technology requires shred responsibility: It is time we all step up. Healthcare (Amst), 16(1), 7-12. Vimalachandran, P., Wang, H., Zhang, Y., Heyward, B., & Whittaker, F. (2018). Ensuring Data Integrity in Electronic Health Records: A quality Health Care Implication. https://arxiv.org/ftp