Staff must be trained to use Electronic Health Records in a way that optimizes the potential benefits of the new technology, while avoiding sloppy habits that not only reduce effectiveness but are even potentially detrimental to the quality of health care (Hartzband & Groopman, 1998). There are literally hundreds of Electronic Health Records applications and products available on the market today. It is up to each organization to choose the product that suits their user environment, but they should also select a product that is well designed to promote good clinical and practices.
For example, check-box style systems force a practitioner to interact with the computer screen more than the patient, and limit a doctors ability to customize a chart to capture unique or individual information relevant to that patient. Thus systems that allow for at least some amount of free-text entry are preferable (Hartzband & Groopman, 1998). At the same time, systems that include check-boxes, drop-down fields, or numerical fields for certain types of information that is appropriate to this type of data capture can increase efficiency and reduce the temptation for users to just “cut and paste” large chunks of text.
When implementing an EHR in ambulatory care environments, a key factor that contributes to successful use and adoption is an organizational “change management” approach that includes assessing and redesigning workflow to operate effectively for both office, nursing and physician staff, and adequate training (Lorenzi, Kouroubali, Detmer, & Bloomrosen, 2009).
As the Electronic Health Records industry evolves, we can find a balance of technological ease and efficiency while preserving human interaction and one-on-one care.
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Lorenzi, N.M., Kouroubali, A., Detmer, D.E., & Bloomrosen, M. (2009). How to successfully select and implement electronic health records (EHR) in small ambulatory practice settings. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, (15)
Thakkar, M. & Davis, D.C. (2006). Risks, Barriers, and Benefits of EHR Systems: A Comparative Study Based on Size of Hospital. Perspectives in Health Information Management, (3)5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles.