the human experiment electronic medicalhealth records

Patient safety is one of the primary stated intentions behind the push for computerized medical records. To the extent illegible handwriting leads to errors this specific problem would be eliminated by computerized medical records. However, the risks to patients when computerized record systems are used have caused a developing safety crisis. Companies market their software and hardware products as the solution to clinician induced medical errors including the elimination of illegible scribbled notes; unusual orders being met with an alert; and the standardization of medication dosages and names. In other words, computers are smarter than clinicians. However, these same companies fight regulation by promoting a lie. Namely, that computer induced patient injuries are extremely rare. The main fail safe “mechanism” in their system of checks and balances is the clinician. The logic is that the clinician is at the bedside and will catch a computer error before it causes a patient injury.

Wait a minute-I thought this computer program was marketed as a means to prevent clinician errors? But when it causes errors, the same “error producing clinicians” are the safety net? It’s an absurd and dangerous position that can only lead to an increase in preventable medical injuries.

Definitions: Electronic Health Record (EHR) versus Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

Both of these terms refer to automated systems that allow health care professionals to document patient specific information (allergies, medications, vital signs). Although these terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference. The main difference is that the EMR can only be accessed by one hospital or department whereas the EHR can be accessed by more than one facility. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology provided the following definitions:

Electronic Medical Record:

An individual’s electronic record of health-related information that can be created, gathered, managed and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization.

Electronic Health Record:

An individual’s electronic record of health-related information that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be created, managed and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one health care organization.

Questions about EHR’s:

Why the rush to implement electronic health records?

What are the “potential benefits” to EHR?

What measures are in place to regulate health care technology and promote patient safety?

Is an electronic medical record simply a neatly typed version of the traditional medical record?

Who enters the information into the computerized medical record?

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