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Electronic Health Records Frequently Asked
Questions

 

Table of Contents


What are Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?

What are the
benefits of EHRs?



What are the factors that are driving the need for EHRs in hospitals and
physician practices?


How do
I start an initiative to develop and implement an EHR strategy?


How can I get EHR product information and compare EHR products?


Why do I need to analyze and improve processes as part of an EHR
initiative?

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What are Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?

A high-level introduction to Electronic Health Records
appears on the EHR
Overview Home
page.

The following articles on the
EHR
Introductory Articles
page provide basic EHR information:




EHR vs. CPR vs. EMR




Key Capabilities of an Electronic Health Record System



The ABCs of CPRs and EMRs

The following articles on the
EHR Reports page provide
more in-depth EHR information:




Electronic Health Record Definition, Scope, and Context





HIMSS Electronic Health Record Definitional Model v1-0




HL7 EHR System Functional Model: A Major Development Towards
Consensus on Electronic Health Record System Functionality – White
Paper

The following links on the
EHR Links Home page
provide basic and some in-depth EHR information:




EHR Mind Map: A Comprehensive Resource Guide




Electronic Medical Records – basic info


HL7 Electronic
Health Record Functional Model and Standard





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What are the benefits of EHRs?

The ehrCentral
Home
page lists basic benefits of implementing EHRs.

The following articles on the
EHR
Introductory Articles
page discuss the benefits of EHRs:



Ambulatory EMR – Establishing a Business Case




Are EMRs Right for Your Practice




Electronic Medical Records: Why Their Time Has Come




How Benefits Can Outweigh Costs of Electronic Records




Physicians Improve Quality of Care, Save Valuable Time, and Increase
Reimbursements through EMR System




The Need for Electronic Medical Records in Primary Care





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What are the factors that are driving the need for EHRs in hospitals and
physician practices?

According to the


Medical Records InstituteÓ©xth Annual Survey of Electronic Health
Record Trends and Usage for 2004
,
the following factors, in priority order, are driving the need for
Electronic Health Records in hospitals and

physician practices:


Hospitals
 
Physician Practices

Share patient information
among health care practitioners and professionals
 
Improve clinical processes
or workflow efficiency

Improve clinical processes
or workflow efficiency
 
Improve quality of care

Reduce medical errors
(improve patient safety)
 
Improve clinical
documentation to support appropriate billing service
levels

Improve quality of care
 
Share patient information
among health care practitioners and professionals

Facilitate clinical
decision support
 
Reduce medical errors
(improve patient safety)

Improve clinical data
capture
 
Provide access to patient
records at remote locations

Provide access to patient
records at remote locations
 
Improve clinical data
capture

Improve clinical
documentation to support appropriate billing service
levels
 
Establish a more efficient
and effective information infrastructure as a
competitive advantage

Meet the requirements of
legal, regulatory, or accreditation standards
 
Contain or reduce
healthcare delivery costs

Contain or reduce
healthcare delivery costs
 
Meet the requirements of
legal, regulatory, or accreditation standards

Establish a more efficient
and effective information infrastructure as a
competitive advantage
 
Facilitate clinical
decision support





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How do I start an initiative to develop and implement an EHR strategy?

If you do not already have some knowledge about EHRs and
their implementation, browse the

EHR
Introductory Articles


EHR Case
Study Articles


EHR
Implementation Articles

pages and read the articles of interest to
you. Also, consider reading one or more of the books listed on the
EHR Bibliography
page.

To succeed:

An EHR initiative must
focus on the people and the processes involved in delivering the
healthcare services, while using technology as the enabler, the
resource that makes it possible to perform the tasks, activities, or
processes.

An EHR strategy needs to be developed prior to embarking on the EHR
implementation. Change Management must be part of the strategy since
moving to an EHR environment is all about change (see
EHR


Transformation Home
page
).

The project teams throughout the duration of the initiative, even in
smaller healthcare provider environments, need to have full-time or part-time
dedicated personnel assigned to the initiative who will accurately address the three areas
of: people, process, and technology. If the healthcare organization does
not have expertise in all of these areas, appropriate independent
consultants should be hired (see the
EHR
Consultant Firms Links
page for some suggestions) or pertinent
consulting services should be purchased from an EHR product vendor
(see the
EHR Products & Services Links
page) to assist with
relevant portions of the initiative, including total project management.
 


The EHR Overview page
outlines the

Typical Phases of an
EHR Implementation.





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How can I get EHR product information and compare EHR products?

The following articles on the
EHR
Implementation Articles
page discuss EHR product selection as well
as some details about the vendors and the products:



2003 EMR Survey Summary Report




2004 EMR Survey Summary Report





CPRs in the Winner’s Circle





Evaluating and Selecting Electronic Medical Record Systems




Getting an EMR Up and Running




Herding Cats: The Challenges of EMR Vendor Selection





How to Select a Computer System for a Family Physician’s Office




Industry Awards for EMR Systems




Small-Practice EMRs

The
links on the
EHR
Products & Services Links
page provide information about
specific EHR products.

The following links on the
EHR Links Home page
provide EHR product comparisons and information tools:




Ambulatory EMR Selector




American Academy of Family Physicians’ Practice Management
Computerization




CTS Medical Software Selection




Digital Physician




Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Comparisons By Physicians for
Physicians



KLAS
Enterprises





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Why do I need to analyze and improve processes as part of an EHR
initiative?

The American Heritageï³µp> Dictionary of the
English Language, Fourth Edition defines
process
as:

A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing
about a result: the process of digestion; the process of
obtaining a driver’s license
.

According to Dr. H. James Harrington, who is a
recognized world leader in applying performance improvement
methodologies to business processes and an author of Business Process
Improvement
and Business Process Improvement Workbook:

Automating a bad process not only ensures that
we can do a bad job every time, but that we can do it faster and
with less effort than before
“.

The late Dr. W. Edwards Deming, an
international guru on quality and productivity management, made the
following statement in his classic work Out of the Crisis:

Improving processes is the only way to
improve quality
“.

At the beginning stages of an EHR initiative, it is
essential to analyze the clinical and business processes used by a
healthcare organization to determine what needs to stay the same and
what needs to change to improve work flow and the effectiveness of the
organization. Process analysis and improvement must be an integral part
of the EHR strategy and implementation otherwise the organization will
not achieve their goals for creating a more effective and profitable
environment.




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