The health care industry is a constantly changing field. New advances in science and technology have saved many lives. In an effort to provide more comprehensive treatment to patients, there has been a push for hospitals and patients to have an electronic health record (EHR) in place. These records would ideally provide all necessary information to medical professionals to enable them to provide better care for patients and reduce the amount of medical malpractice claims for missed medical problems.
Unfortunately, EHRs are not working as planned. A recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center lists one of the major concerns with EHRs that New Jersey medical professionals need to know. Health care facilities have different types of computer systems, and this makes communication difficult. It may not be possible to transfer complete records back and forth between the different facilities.
This could cause uncertainty for medical professionals about the types of care that a patient has already received, and could also have a very negative impact on a patient in need of medical care. For example, if a patient needs to go to the emergency room, what happens if an incomplete list of medications is listed in the EHR? This could lead to potentially harmful side effects if the wrong drugs are used during treatment.
There may also be another reason why a health care provider may not want to receive a complete EHR. A patient’s record will list all the tests that he or she has already been administered, which would limit the amount of money that the hospital could collect.
The report states that one-third of all doctors are currently using EHRs, which shows a slight increase from 2010 numbers. While the focus seems to be on getting physicians to adopt the records, there is a lack of attention focused on better communication between facilities. Patient safety may be at risk if better data-sharing plans are not put in place.