I have been talking lately about organizations doing a great attempt at making records available while at the same time ensuring compliance with policies on records keeping and data privacy laws. To succeed,
organizations will have to start thinking about an Information Governance strategy.
Two items worth discussing in regards to making records available are Electronic Medical Records¹ (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records¹ (EHRs), the latter sometimes referred to as Personal Health Records (PHR). Around the world, systems for EMRs and EHRs are being implemented to improve patient care, reduce health care expenses, and fundamentally change the way in which medicine is practiced. Health care providers in various countries are financially supported by government programs to get an EMR in place and software vendors are building solutions to help health care providers. Implementing an EMR has its challenges, but there are some great examples where OpenText helped customers succeed in that challenge. Geisinger is one of those customers.
Implementing Electronic Health Record systems presents another challenge of ensuring consistency of format from one EHR to another.
Don’t forget it is also critical that we respect and protect a patient’s sensitive information, including HIPAA-protected information, which makes migrating paper records to an online format an even bigger effort.
For a country, having an EHR in place is a timely process but doable.
There are several countries, especially in Europe, that have achieved this or are steering quickly towards this, including Denmark, France,
and Norway. My biggest question mark, however, is why relatively small countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium want EHRs as separate countries. Let’s take as an example the Netherlands, where driving just a couple hours would put you in another country. Having an EHR that is accessible only by provigil from the Netherlands will need health care outside of their country.
Insurance coverage outside of the Netherlands—and, for that matter within the EU—isn’t the problem, but getting foreign doctors to understand patients’ health records is. The reason is language.
And not to mention trying anything during a holiday abroad: Not everyone speaks the foreign language where they go on holiday, nor speak fluently several languages. Conversely, a physician from France will have some trouble communicating verbally with a tourist. With EMR and EHR at the European level, on the basis of codes for medications, treatments, and allergies, the correct translations are possible for each country. This saves time, frustration, and, even more importantly, errors due to wrong communication. So, let’s make sure when making medical and health records available to take the most efficient way, giving back time to doctors and letting them do what they are good: taking care of patients.
Learn more about building a successful archiving strategy at www.opentext.com/archive.
1. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are the record of patient health information generated by encounters at one particular physician practice. This is the physician’s own electronic record of his or her patient’s medical care. Electronic health records (EHRs) are defined as patient health records that include clinical data and information from multiple sources and that are maintained outside of a single hospital or clinic. It is a record of a patient’s long-term and aggregate health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting.
Stemming from the interoperability of multiple providers, the EHR is distinct from the software systems that directly support caregivers treating patients. Rather, the EHR connects the physicians and other caregivers. Included in this information are patient demographics,
progress notes, problems, medications, medical history,
immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports.