The medical care system has experienced rapid growth during the last century. As a result, the number of situations when the critical patient information had to be fully accessible has significantly increased. As a result, in the 1960s, electronic health records (EHR) systems were first applied. They provided an opportunity to collect and store a vast amount of information concerning patients. Moreover, the information could be easily accessed and used. At the beginning of the 21st century, electronic health records have been further developed and become an integral part of the healthcare process.
Electronic health record systems are defined as a complex of programs and software that provides a collection of electronic health data about patients. It is a digital record that can be easily shared across the health care establishments. EHR systems include information about the medical history of the patient, tests of the laboratory results, and personal statistics. Thus, it provides an opportunity to examine the history of the patient’s treatment and reduces the possibility of the replication of the information. It is also easier to extract information from the EHR systems. Electronic health record also improves the quality of medical care, impacts the accuracy of diagnoses, reduces the possibility of the mistakes, and enables cost savings. However, there are many disadvantages of the applying of electronic health record systems. The side effects of EHR systems are discussed in Dina Gerdeman’s article titled How Electronic Patients Records Can Slow Down Doctor Productivity (Gerdeman).
Indeed, electronic health records are fully integrated into the medical sphere. However, many doctors complain that there is an increasing number of the disadvantages of implementing of EHR systems. Electronic health records slowly replace paper records. At the same time, this cannot be true for the large medical establishments that manage a huge amount of the information concerning medical history of the patients. On the contrary, smaller medical centers can loose its productivity. It is explained by the necessity to change communication patterns and digital networks.
It is considered that electronic health records can facilitate the sharing of the information between medical establishments. Moreover, EHR systems impact the healthcare process and make it more efficient and safer. Despite these advantages, the applying of electronic health records significantly increases the time used by the doctors in order to enter data on patient’s medical history. As a result, doctors spend less time with the patient. Thus, clinicians have to delegate EHR operations for the medical support staff. The process of delegation does not necessarily impacts the productivity of the doctors. They still have to spend additional time on coordinating the process and reviewing the results of electronic health records.
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Dina Gerdeman provides the results of the study that analyzed the relationship between medical productivity and the usage of electronic health records. As a result, the productivity of clinicians can be increased with the delegation of the electronic health records duties to medical support staff. However, small medical establishments did not experience the same increase of the productivity. Thus, EHR systems can have a negative effect on the clinician’s productivity. The process of EHR applying also requires trainings that often cannot be afforded by small practices.
Besides the side effects of the implementing of EHR systems mentioned in the article, there are other disadvantages of the digital records. They include the financial issues, changes in medical staff duties, and security concerns.
Indeed, digital technology has radically transformed the modern world. It was also integrated into the heath care process in the form of EHR systems or digital health care infrastructure. Electronic health records impact the way healthcare is delivered to the patients. However, EHR requires further development in order to eliminate potential side effects.