The implementation of EMR application has been hindered mainly by;
Technical issues including poor integration levels with various applications, functionality and quality are uncertain and it’s hard to use.
- It’s very costly to install, maintain, upgrade and replace hence applicable only in the private health systems which are not funded by the public.
Despite having limitations there are benefits that are associated with electronic medical records and include;
- It provides up to date, shareable, single and information source that can be retrieved. It has replaced paper-based recording of medical information which is hard to retrieve and read.
- It is capable for structuring, streamlining and automating medical work flow.
- It provides support for various healthcare activities including monitoring, prescribing electronically, decision-support, lab ordering, electronic referral radiology and outcomes display.
- Maintain information and data that can be analyzed for research, medical audit, epidemiological monitoring, quality assurance and surveillance of diseases.
However before the implementation of electronic medical records some few issues have to be considered they include;
- The system requires the employment of standards to support information interchanging between networks like medical terminologies and data of high quality.
- Technical, legal, and ethical issues that determine the security, confidentiality, accuracy and rights accessing which are set to go up as the systems become available online.
- Similar structures and architecture of records.
- Communication protocols and standards of the clinical information.
- Confidentiality and security of information.
- The quality of the patients’ data.
The EMR is interoperable which its main importance includes;
- Knowledge integration and transfer
- Data sharing and transfer between various networks
- Transfer of image
- Integration with both the non-clinical and clinical applications
- Mapping, integration and the transfer of medical terminologies.
Clinical Decision Support Tools
This is a tool used along with the EMR system to help the physician with making decisions on a patients care. The system can pick up information on medications the patient is taking and whether or not the new medication will contradict that medication or cause any other unwanted symptoms. If there is a problem with the treatment plan it will point out the error and show the physician some options that can be done to improve what he is doing.
Apart from the electronic medical records, clinical decision support (CDS) is also a major impact of technology in the healthcare sector. Clinical decision supports the healthcare providers, patients, and other people with information on specific individual and knowledge that is presented at certain time that is appropriate. This enhances the healthcare and the health. CDS is mostly employed in addressing clinical requirements like screening for preventable diseases, accurate diagnoses or avoidance of drug effects which are severe.
Early CDS systems were developed from research on the expert systems which was programmed in the computer and allowed it to operate as a clinician. The features that are common in CDS systems include the knowledge base and communication mechanism which are aimed to provide guidance which is patient specific. This has greatly contributed to the minimal errors made on diagnoses. It increases efficiency and reduces healthcare costs which are achieved by its ability to detect and prevent adverse drug events (ADE) which increase costs.
Both EMR and CDS has had great impact on healthcare as it has promoted the efficiency, effectiveness, safety and accurate diagnoses which in turn has enhanced the services in the healthcare sector.
Introduction of prompts, reminders, and alerts in a computerized decision-support system will help in improving compliance with best health care practices. This will ensure preventive practices and regular screening. This will also help in identifying possible drug interactions, and also facilitate treatment and diagnoses.
Advanced technology will introduce robotics in the healthcare field. Engineers can use the existing artificial intelligence advancement to come up with robots which will be able of not only carrying out repetitive operations but also making informed decision in the changing conditions and circumstances. This will be implemented in the healthcare system and assist health care practitioners in carrying out some clinical operations.
Implementing the new technology in the healthcare system should come hand in hand with the consideration of the vital issues. The first issue to address is, is there safety in the use of the new device on the practitioner and to the patient? Is there safety in using the device for a different process or procedure, different from the initially intended? The other important question is: do staffs need training on issues regarding guidance on safety and the device use. The other important issue to focus on is the issue of costing. Cost effectiveness should be intermingled with the concept of device effectiveness; is the device safe to be endorsed and used in the country or region and be productive?