Given the recent passage of the heath care bill, and complicated language within the bill it is unclear if electronic health records (EHR) systems will be mandatory. Nonetheless, research indicates that electronic Health Records improve patient safety and satisfaction. However, the implementation cost of this process is significant. Memorial Hospital in Wyoming, a 99 bed hospital, implemented a full electronic medical records system in 18 months at a cost of $2 million dollars. Memorial Hospital did have a successful implementation and was able to stay within budget and on-time (“Lessons Learned”, 2009). Research indicates that initial cost of EHR systems is $44,000 per full-time employee (FTE) with the ongoing maintenance cost of $8500
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They are also responsible to ensure they maintain a secure password to maintain the confidentiality of their patient records. Secondly, institutions such as hospitals and doctor clinics have the ability to store all your records electronically, if they have the correct software and hardware. It is important to understand the records stored by the institution cannot be shared across institutions. This will likely change in the future with the health information exchange initiatives that are currently being piloted.
In 2000, fewer than ten percent of hospital had EHR systems in place. Most of the systems were not entirely electronic. For example, the patient’s chart may be electronic while the medication orders are still completed via paper (Ringold, Santell, Schneider, 2000). The number of institutions adopting EHR systems is increasing, but is still significantly hindered by the barriers of adoption by the end user and cost.
EHR systems have both benefits and disadvantages. Some of the benefits include improved patient safety, improved records keeping, and mobility of records. In addition, electronic records allow providers to give more timely feedback and informed decisions about healthcare (O’Brein, 2006). However, the most significant disadvantage is initial and ongoing cost. The next highest disadvantage is the change from paper to paperless records. In addition, getting end users to adopt can be very challenging.