Although there had been great advancements, the incorporation of technology in healthcare took a relatively longer time to implement (Kimmel & Sensmeier, 2002). Before 2011, there was no clear direction of the implementation of know-hows in medical sector. Obama Care, i.e. Affordable Care Act played a major role incorporation of technology in healthcare. Its inclusion has led to the development of the digital versions of the patient’s chart known as the Electronic Health Records (EHR) (Hoffmann et al., 2017). The latter has been in place for quite a long time and Main Line Health Organization (2019) has incorporated it into practice. However, there has not been equity in the utilization of the EHR in all departments of the hospital including Intensive Care Unit (ICU) (Main Line Health, 2019). This paper describes Electronic Health Records stating its mandate and giving a strategic plan to help in utilization of the EHR in the Main Line Health ICU. It also provides the meaningful use of the approach and its patient confidentiality considerations.
Description of the Electronic Health Record Mandate
Electronic health mandate was established with the aim of ensuring that various healthcare providers in the private and public sectors have the capability of ensuring that the client information that they hold is confidential at all times (Hoffmann et al 2017). Although the idea of electronic records began in the twentieth century, the concept of the actual mandate appeared in 2011 when the Affordable Care Act was implemented (Hoffmann et al., 2017). The objectives of the same were expected to be achievable by the beginning of 2014 in the United States. The mandate was aimed at engaging the patients and the family members in care, improving the safety, quality, and efficiency of services, and reducing the health disparities that occur between various groups of people (Hoffmann et al., 2017). The EHR mandate also includes security of the client information and enhances the understanding of the populations involved in public health. The Affordable Care Act and the Obama administration ensured that all the objectives that were mandate were implemented as it gave orders on how the operations ought to be done.
Implementation of an Electronic Health Record requires the understanding of six main steps (HealthIT.gov, 2019).
- Assessing practice readiness. Organizations need to know the levels they are in to be able to know the best direction to take towards the progress of the organization in acquisition of the necessary resources. Main Line Health (2019) is always ready to establish new systems. The organization has good financial management framework that allows investing in fresh ideas that might help in improving its efficiency. The entity needs to allocate more resources in ensuring that the health records in the ICU are secure given that most patients in the department are unconscious and might not be able to know when their privacy has been breached (Main Line Health, 2019).
- The plan for the approach to improve the health situation in the department would involve allocation of more resources to hire individuals who will have a sole responsibility of taking care of the department (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013).
- The organization has a certified Electronic Health Record system and would probably need to train members to be able to use them at a given time.
- The upgraded EHR infrastructure is entirely new to the staff in the ICU department. To guarantee efficiency of the upgrade they will be trained on how to use it. The factual and practical skills on the system will be gained here.
- The next step is to ensure the attainment of meaningful use. With the best means possible all the necessary alterations necessary ought to be made in this stage to make sure the system designed works in assisting its objectives that is being of assistance to the patients in the ICU.
- Continue quality improvement. Some changes can be done in the system once it has been introduced to the department. After some time, the administrators can collect the need analysis of the EHR and this will be used to restructure the system to improve the quality of service it delivers.
Discussion of Meaningful Use
Meaningful use of the EHRs entails ensuring that the guidelines put in place are able to meet the requirements of the outlined health mandate (Hoffmann et al., 2017). Thus, it should be uniform according to the minimal standards of the government and allow for transfer of patient information between medical professionals to aid in the treatment of the person. The meaningful use is divided into three main stages that outline the criteria that organizations need to meet to be legible to use the electronic health records approaches (Hoffmann et al., 2017). The entity under consideration has understood the objectives of the mandate and has put it into practice. The organization also has a good number of qualified personnel and offers educational programs to help its employees understand how to utilize the equipment.
EHRs and Patient Confidentiality
To be useful to the owner, every information should be stored in a manner that no unauthorized person gains access to it. The information of the patients can fall on the hands of malicious people such as the hackers who may use it to harm them. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and strives to ensure that it protects patient’s information from being accessed by unauthorized personnel (Main Line Health, 2019). Some laws were made by the Act to modernize the flow of information in the health sector and protect it from fraud or theft. The EHR guarantees that the personal information is secured by passwords, and only limited number of individuals has the authority to alter the data. The aforementioned restriction makes the members who have the access accountable for any leak of data.
In summary, the EHRs were established long ago but had not been put into meaningful use. The latter involves the operating in line with the outlined mandate by the government of the United States that was to be implemented by 2014. There are various steps that an entity needs to follow to meet all the mandates. Main Line Health organization has to improve the privacy and security of the patient information in the ICU to ensure that it achieves meaningful use in all departments.
HealthIT.gov. (2019). Health IT strategic planning. Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/topic/about-onc/health-it-strategic-planning
Hoffmann, T. J., Ehret, G. B., Nandakumar, P., Ranatunga, D., Schaefer, C., Kwok, P. Y. …, Risch, N. (2017). Genome-wide association analyses using electronic health records identify new loci influencing blood pressure variation. Nature Genetics, 49(1), 54-64.
Kimmel, K. C., & Sensmeier, J. (2002). A technological approach to enhancing patient safety. Chicago, IL: Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Main Line Health. (2019). Diversity, respect, and inclusion. Retrieved from https://www.mainlinehealth.org/
Burkhardt, M. A., & Nathaniel, A. (2013). Ethics and issues in contemporary nursing. Nelson Education.