Impact of Electronic Health Records Sample Paper

Impact of Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Characterizing the recent evolution in healthcare has been the sustained integration of technological innovations into healthcare practice. These advancements have had the sole aim of improving patient diagnostics, management and follow-up, as well as creating a platform for integrated patient care hence improving the overall quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction in care delivery (Evans, 2016). EHR represents one such fundamental transformation of the healthcare sector that has seen the consolidation of patient information and provided the platform for continued and integrated patient care.

Advantages of EHR

EHR has improved decision-making capabilities of healthcare workers. Arguably, healthcare has morphed into an increasingly convoluted concept affected by multiple patient, social, political and environmental factors (Evans, 2016). For this reason, arriving at appropriate decisions requires extensive considerations of varied issues, a process that has been made easier with the availability of decision support systems (DSS) within most EHRs. DSS are special software that employs specific algorithms to derive best-case scenarios for patients and enhance favorable outcomes (Kuo et al., 2018). Decisions on billing, consultation, insurance payment and referrals often need DSS input.

An overarching impact of EHR involves the enabling prompt and efficient communication among healthcare workers, hence fostering collaboration. Supporting the need for effective intervention are the increasing incidence of chronic illnesses that require long-term follow-up and multidisciplinary care (Evans, 2016; Ramya et al., 2018) alongside the enduring concept of holistic patient management and evidence-based nursing practice. These two factors have meant that an improved collaboration in the healthcare sector could not have been more timely, important or beneficial (Vos et al., 2020). EHR has therefore granted many people the opportunity to receive collaborative healthcare, anywhere, anytime and at an affordable cost.

Crucially, EHR has enhanced the security of patient information. Coupled with cybersecurity laws such as the 1996 HIPAA Act, it is possible to safely store patient data for posterity, hence reducing the need for bulky and risky paper-based systems (Ramya et al., 2018). Since online systems are not immune to unauthorized access, special access protocols, as well as privileges of the users, are used to control entry. Being a central repository of patient information, safe storage translates to adequate synchrony, faster access and hence the enhanced efficiency of service provision (Carlson & Laryea, 2019). The robustness of the EHR system has also made it a fertile ground for research-related ventures, hence the use and examination of patient data for improving service delivery and expanding the knowledge base.

The computerized physician order entry (CPOE) is another remarkable advantage of the EHR. CPOE confers to the physician the ability to enter instructions on specific tests or treatment procedures on a computer directly without needing paper (Wiegel et al., 2019). That has enhanced the promptness of information exchange amongst various departments as well as reduced significant medication and prescription errors. Importantly, the platform has also diminished the time nurses or other professionals seek clarification due to incomplete or illegible instructions, with the overall result being improved patient care.

Challenges of EHR

Despite many hospitals currently using EHR systems, the aspect of setting up and maintaining it remains a daunting prospect for most. First, as with comprehensive online systems, a significant financial outlay is required to drive the purchase and installation of such a project (Ramya et al., 2018). That tends to be difficult for most facilities which operate at narrow profit margins hence the vital role of sponsors and state actors in ensuring such projects come to fruition. Also, maintenance costs are significant in the whole endeavor as software are subject to continual improvement through regular updates and servicing to ensure maximal patient benefit (Alafaireet & Hicks, 2017). Such costs are often prohibitory and may discourage some facilities from establishing a functioning HER system.

EHRs are fairly novel entrants into the basic healthcare service provision arena and are an affirmation of the growing role of technology in improving healthcare delivery. Therefore, to enhance its usage proficiency and acceptability among healthcare workers, requisite training and education is needed before installation and continually throughout its usage to enable the realization of expected outcomes (Longhurst et al., 2019). The training may be costly cumulatively and workers may just turn-down or sabotage the prospect owing to change resistance and poor attitude. These may be addressed through cost-sharing and incentivization as well as improving the human-computer interface through standardization of EHR to enhance its understanding by users (Alafaireet & Hicks, 2017). It is also important to enhance the portability of the EHR.

EHRs are also susceptible to data management malpractices and unauthorized entry practices. Such include data mining, phishing and third-party viewership and represent a constant threat in an ever evolving cybersphere (Osop & Sahama, 2016). Patient data is extremely personal and a massively intimate piece of information that in the wrong hands can be used for endless nefarious intentions. Accordingly, facilities invest in security measures to avert potential attacks and keep their space safe (Osop & Sahama, 2016). That is in addition to employing technicians who constantly monitor the system operability and try to prevent such occurrences by sealing technological loopholes.


In sum, the entry of the EHR into the healthcare corridors has helped, over time, improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare service delivery. Continual research and innovation keep unravelling ways of enhancing the current systems through heightened security, improved connectivity and enhanced usability. Nevertheless, it is the ultimate consideration of all core elements of the system, that is patients, caregivers and the core platform itself, that will spur the next generation of healthcare improvement tools.