“Electronic health record (EHR) is defined as the computer application that electronically stores individuals’ identifiable health data” (Layman, 2008, p. 165)

Electronic health records or EHR—according to the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, is a vital component of transitioning to the computer documentation of nursing and health care. The Use of EHR is imperative in that it will address the future of health care for the nursing staff and health care team.

The implementation of EHR will and has created a better documentation and methodology and improved upon the health care disparities that exist.

What is the Primary Goal of EHR and EMR?

Electronic health records are helping to cut astronomical healthcare costs and help to provide better care and better documentation for hospitals and care facilities according to every study result. The EHR is meant –according to the OJNI–to benefit the patient’s overall healthcare outcomes from several different areas. These areas may include better quality care, better resolution of orders, lowered medication errors and lowered health care costs.

The U.S. Congress has and will continue to enforce the use of the EHR in order to ensure better health outcomes for patients.

What are the Benefits of EMR and EHR?

Computerized documentation will afford better healthcare to the populace, but despite that, many in the health care field are resistance to the implementation of EHR and EMR.

As technology continues to progress in the healthcare field EHR can help patients to find better ways to accomplish healthcare and better treatment options. EHR is projected to explode into use and boost the efficiency of the medical field. It’s been projected that EHR will be both productive and sustainable, though the sustainability hasn’t been proven to everyone’s satisfaction.

Why are Health Care Practitioners so Averse to the EHR Mandates?

Nurses are already in short supply. Nurse managers and nurses as well as advanced level nurses are going to play a very important role in the documentation of care and the decision making process. It is projected that APN’s will need to be specialists in computing and computer technology in order to adequately and accurately “bridge the gap” between the nurse and healthcare and the computer knowledge required for good documentation.

Many nurses and advanced care practitioners, even those who are younger may not be conversant in the new methods. Many if not most of the major nursing schools have added informatics courses to their studies but some still have not. This is a significant challenge to health care and acute care facilities in that the governmental mandates as set forth by the Bush administration are already providing for penalties to the health care providers.

According to EMRandHipaa.com “the average AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians) user is reimbursed 20% by Medicare. This means that overall, a private practice with $500,000 of annual income that fails to meet the electronic medical records mandate will lose $1000 in payments in 2015, $2000 in 2016, and so on.” The lost funds will snowball over time, meaning that it is imperative that everyone knows and uses EMR and EHR in a “meaningful” way.

Nurse practitioners and nurse providers must work with their subordinates and ensure that these mandates are being met and that the provision for continued learning is offered in their facility. Nursing staff, if they want to keep the positions they currently hold must endeavor to implement and properly use the EMR and EHR as required by law and for the benefit of their health care facility as well as their patients.

Learn how to STOP losing your best nurses, IMPROVE your patient outcomes, and DECREASE your staffing costs. Download the free webinar transcript here w/ special guest LeAnn Thieman, Hall of Fame Speaker, Nurse, and Co-Author of the book Chicken Soup for the Nurse Soul. Go here to download your free copy.

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