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Utilizing Effective EHR Systems for Developing Better Service and Performance in ICUs, Capstone Project Example

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Capstone Project

Background of the Issue

            One of the most important aspects of giving healthcare attention to patients admitted in hospitals is the accuracy of the service that are given to them. Relatively, this would depend on the information that is given to the healthcare attendants regarding their cases and the condition of specific care that they need. Nurses, being the ones who are assigned to have the closest relative connection with the patients, are expected to react accordingly to make a distinctive condition of dealing with patient needs. In areas such as the Intensive Care Unit, this specific role of the nurses is given specific high consideration as it could mean the life and death of the individuals being given specific care.

In the field of administering operations considered in treating patients in the ICU is considered a crucial part of handling hospital responsibility towards the public. Relatively, such condition of position in the field of healthcare provision then subjects the said operation into particular constraints and rules that are necessary to be followed to make sure that the patients are safe in the hands of human caregivers. However, because of human errors, there are many instances when issues and cases of medical malpractice occur thus endangering the lives of the patients. Not to mention the fact that the turnaround of patients admitted in the ICU should be effectively handled especially among small healthcare facilities that are aiming to cater to the needs of specific smaller communities. It could be realized that even though ICUs play a great role in handling critical health cases among specific patients, the unavailability of areas in the room for the patients needing special attention makes the process of caring ad recover almost close to impossible (Ash, et al, 2007, 415). This is the reason why the intervention of electronic procedures us being administered in several healthcare organizations today. Question is, does the said application of electronic procedures actually increase the competence of nurse-performance thus assuring patient safety? This review of literature shall try to explore such matter through exposing several facts about the EHR or the Electronic Health Record system thus imposing on whether or not technology could indeed emancipate development in ICUs as patient needs are being given specific care.

Implications of Research

            The crucial condition of operations handled in the ICU could either save someone’s life or take another’s. Many say that its competence in serving the needs of the patients being admitted within its walls is based on the competence of the caregivers. Nevertheless, through the years of research and observation, it has been realized that the competence of provided service and care to patients do not rely on the hands of the healthcare providers alone. Nurses, who are considered as the front-liners of the operation are in need of being trained and specifically given proper attention as to how they deal with their responsibilities as the ones who are assigned to attend to patients admitted in the ICU (Ash, et al, 2007, 416). There condition of work however cannot be fully competent if not for the proper operation of scheduling tasks and specific administration of duties that is handled by the head of their department. Not only that, several anomalies in nursing procedures have also been accounted against improper handling of information with regards the case of the patient being given attention to. Passing on of detail between nurses who are changing shifts often makes such operation of continuing diagnosis and treatment quite harder to handle. This is where the operation of EHR comes in. The fact is that the EHR system has been introduced to the healthcare industry during the early1990s. Nevertheless, it was is only now that the real impact of EHR systems have on the process of handling healthcare procedures have been strongly measured. This is the reason why several organizations around the globe today [specifically in Europe, America and Australia] are already embracing the idea of having their files and data kept through the EHR system. Through this particular study, it would be realized just how much increase of competence among healthcare workers is specifically boosted through EHR operations and how it could be administered properly among organizations that are still undergoing traditional ways of keeping patient-information and administering healthcare operations especially in relation to the conditions of work considered in hospital intensive care units.

Related Literature

            What is Electronic Health Record?

            Electronic Health Record is an IT-based program operation that represents the process of utilizing information technology to store and mange information of patients in relation to how they are treated in hospitals, noting their specific issues and keeping record on their health progressions in case they are being treated for particular ailments they are supposed to recovered from. Back in the days, before the introduction of revolutionary IT in healthcare, patient files are kept in papers, while some are kept in simple visual-basic based programs, the intact record on the healthcare status of a patient cannot be fully managed by healthcare specialists as desired. It could be realized that a patient may not go to only one healthcare facility for his whole life. Relatively, the need to transfer details of a specific patient to another healthcare facility makes the record processing and update hard to accomplish. Notably, this is where the system of EHR comes in. Easing the operation of keeping and managing patient information is one.

Besides keeping patient healthcare records with an accurate and updated data that could be easily managed in healthcare facilities where they are admitted in, EHR provides more. Specialized EHR setups have been also designed to handle personnel records. This distinctive function makes it easier for specialized departments in hospitals, such as the ICU, to keep track on what is already being done for a particular patient. Through making a specifically designed EHR system for the hospital departments, hospital administrators are able to see to it that each patient is given care as needed and proper attention as required. Keeping on the record what has been done for a patient and who administered the procedures makes it easier for the head administrators to track who is responsible for what.

How EHR works

Given that ICUs are expected to contemplate with the need of handling critical cases, this function of the EHR then appears to be relatively necessary. Given the condition of work being handled in the ICU facilities of hospitals, head administrators should be able to track properly what is happening inside the said facilities. The multiple functions of EHR such as the CPOE or the computerized provider order entry, basically keeps track on what specific procedures have been conducted on a patient and who administered them (Greenhalgh, 2009, 729). The time and all the other details are carefully included in the system thus making it easier to track changes and improve patient assistance as needed. eMAR on the other hand, also known as the electronic medication administration record, helps healthcare attendees to keep track on the medication and the reaction of the patients on particular drugs administered to them thus avoiding any particular mistreatment due to drug misuse (Kierkegaard, 2011, 503).

What makes EHR operations kind of hard to accept for some organizations though is that some view it to be specifically complicated. Needing to train healthcare practitioners to learn a new wave of dealing with patient-management is simply viewed by some administrators as rather ‘ambitious’. Nevertheless, based on what has been observed on those that already have embraced its impact on the manner by which they operate their hospital systems, such training and re-focusing of operation are all worth investments especially in assuring patient care and safety monitoring procedures.

ICU facilities among several hospitals take great pride in making their nurses more competent in handling their duties and their physicians more eased out in providing the proper diagnosis and treatment that saves the lives of their patients. Although there are some nurses that are still adamant to the idea, the fact that the healthcare industry should be open to development for the sake of developing better patient care operations should convince them that they should also take part in the process of specifically responding to their oath of putting their patient’s safety first on the line.

            Implicative effects on the Process of Performance in ICUs among Attending Nurses

            Nurses are expected to have constant connection with patients who are admitted in the ICU. Regular checking of vitals and assurance of patient response to medication and treatment are only some of the responsibilities that nurses have to give attention to. Imagine how hard it is for one nurse to keep focus on recording all the situations of, for instance, three individual patients who are admitted in an ICU. If everything is to be in writing, and in case such record has been misplaced, just imagine what tumultuous situations the patient would undergo as new diagnosis on his case should be handled again especially if the patient changes his attending physicians. ICU patients have specific needs and special attention should be given to such conditions. Every turn of event, every reaction to drug administration, may it be small or huge, should be recorded accordingly. Every single detail of development or failure of the procedure is considered as a necessary path towards coming up with proper diagnosis and specifically involving the patient into the proper treatment he needs. This is how tough and how serious the role of nurses is when it comes to handling ICU patients.

EHR, being an electronic program, entails to eliminate human error through keeping vital information in storage, which could be easily accessed when needed. The previous scenario presented, which involves the written records handled by attending nurses, is quite stressful to watch. However, with the involvement of EHR keeping records would be easier. Company tablets [electronic handheld device] has been one of the most efficient inventions in communication technology that has eased out the process of encoding in information into the central EHR system of the department and the main hospital as well. These specialized handhelds makes it an instant process for an attending nurse to input data into the EHR base, which immediately updates the record of a patient. Passing on the information between nurses as they change duty-shifts also becomes a breeze as the updated data remains intact and easier to track for anyone who is wanting to track the development of the patient based on the recovery he is undergoing in relation to the treatment being given to him.

            Accuracy of Information and Improved Service

            When the information in the database is updated and considered accurate, the service given to the patients is sure to improve especially when it comes to assured safety. Patient safety could be categorized in three separate matters. One is that of the safety based on the ergonomically safe design of the facility itself, another is that of the safety based on the medical procedures administered on the patient and third is safety based on the competencies of the healthcare attendees (Himmelstein, et al, 2009, 178). Relatively, the first category relies more on the physical attributes of the ICU, which is maintained through the careful administration of the department heads. On the other end, the last two categories have been full assumed to be controlled and helped through the application of EHR systems in improving the manner of attention and medication given to patients requiring critical attention.

Being practical, efficient and responsive to specific ICU patient healthcare needs, the EHR systems could then be assumed as one of the most modern help that nurses appointed in such facilities of the hospital to assure patient safety. Giving attention to their responsibility to embrace development to assure their way of responding to their taken oath of putting the concerns of their patients first on the line, nurses and hospital administrators and staffs overall, would be able to gain much benefit from utilizing EHR systems (Silverstein, 2009, 34). This process of embracing development is dedicated to improve hospital operations and create a massive distinction on how they function for the society they are supposed to serve.

Summary of Discussion

            Overall, it could be realized that the system imposed through the application of electronic health record programs in ICUs does increase patient safety. Through accurate data and accurate information stored and managed through the said system, healthcare attendees, especially nurses, are given the proper assistance that they need to make sure that a patient is treated on time and with the right procedures they need to recover from their ailment. Developments and failures are also recorded incases new diagnosis is needed for a specific individual. This way, more people are saved and more improvements on dealing with their medical needs is specifically assured. In the future, it is expected that EHR and its multiple functions would be able to help more in specifically developing ICU care systems through developing more specific operations that are directed to patient detail updates.

References:

Ash, JS; Sittig, DF; Poon, EG; Guappone, K; Campbell, E; Dykstra, RH (2007 Jul-Aug). “The extent and importance of unintended consequences related to computerized provider order entry.”. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA 14 (4): 415–23.

Greenhalgh, T.; Potts, H. W. W.; Wong, G.; Bark, P.; Swinglehurst, D. (2009). “Tensions and paradoxes in electronic patient record research: A systematic literature review using the meta-narrative method“. Milbank Quarterly 87 (4): 729–788.

Habib, J. L. (2010). “EHRs, meaningful use, and a model EMR”. Drug Benefit Trends 22 (4): 99–101.

Kierkegaard, Patrick (2011). “Electronic health record: Wiring Europe’s healthcare”. Computer Law & Security Review 27 (5): 503–515.

Himmelstein, D. U.; Wright, A.; Woolhandler, S. (2009). “Hospital Computing and the Costs and Quality of Care: A National Study”. The American Journal of Medicine.

Silverstein, Scot (2009). “2009 a pivotal year in healthcare IT”. Drexel University.

           

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