Electronic Health Record (EHR) refers to “a repository of electronically maintained information about individual’s lifetime health status and health care, stated such that it can serve multiple legitimate users of the record” (Shortliffe, 2006). Electronic health record has variety of functional applications including but not limited to: results management, Clinical Decision support, picture archiving and communication, and patient –flow management system.
Application in results management allows access to recorded data that can be reviewed by clinicians. Clinical decision support involves the use of rules that supports and advice care providers on a number of treatment procedure alternatives. This ensures that the care providers make right decision according to the recommended treatment procedures. Picture archiving and communication systems help in improving the storage of radiology images. These images are stored digitally and replace the use of films. Quality of patient care is enhanced as it can give alerts and reminders when to attend to the patient. It allows for remote reading of radiology images when needed. Finally, Patient Flow management is applied to identify various locations of the patients and medical staffs. The system is able to link the patient position to the orders entered and alert the medical staff when the patient is ready for the surgery. The strategy to ensure effectiveness of EHR is to adopt the use of both new technology as well as old technology with well training of physicians to ensure gradual transition (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006).
The inpatients physicians can use EHR to help patient fill the medical forms electronically, to give e-prescription and to document medical records including payments made. Electronic health record is not only applicable to the acute care setting but can also be applied to the outpatients. However, its application to the outpatients is not common and needs human resources such as technological skills, finance, and positive attitude to facilitate its implementation.
Two of the Electronic Health Record models are EHR-C and EHR-M. Comprehensive model (HER-C) consists of many tools that are exposed through single software. It allows for sharing of entered information in one part of the product with other tools and applications. On the other hand, Modular EHR allows for innovative information technological changes in regard to internet; it has the ability to create an EMR with various web based applications and tools. This provides physicians with a wide range of applications choices to adopt.