September 30, 2012 by astancilwomack
In 2009 the Obama Administration funded a stimulus to help healthcare providers launch EMR (electronic medical record) systems. The hope is for EMR to replace the old school way of paper charts by 2014. Many of us heard about the Farrah Fawcett incident, but incase you didn’t, after her death her protected health information was leaked to the media by someone who had access to the EMR system. This scares many American’s, and rightfully so.
Many of the times that the EMRs are used inappropriately it is by front office staff, rather than the actual healthcare providers. This can be especially unsettling in small towns where the office workers may know many of the patients. Of course, this was still a threat with paper chats, but typically only a selected few had access or business in the chart rooms. The access is now at everyone’s finger tips. This is where administration needs to step in. First it is important that all employees understand the HIPAA and it’s consequences if violated. The beauty of the EMR is that everything a user does can be tracked. Management needs to make sure that employees not only know they are subject to monitoring, but management needs to follow through.
Electronic medical records can make both the lives of everyone easier. Providers have access to your records in real-time, so questions and concerns can be addressed more quickly and more efficiently. Secondly, these also gives the patient more access to their own files and allows them to make requests and view selected documents online. Overall, electronic medical records can be a great thing for the healthcare industry, but like anything else will require an active role by management to ensure it is being utilized appropriately.