The use of health information technology (HIT) has increased dramatically over the past decade, resulting in the federal government enacting several pieces of legislation such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. In a 3-4 page paper, research and discuss the following. Be sure to include a minimum of 3 references.
- Discuss the financial and health benefits that can be realized by implementing an electronic health record (EHR).
- Research and explain the estimated cost of implementing an EHR and the estimated cost of managing an EHR over the long run.
- Discuss current security concerns surrounding HIT and the EHR.
- Discuss how electronic health records can be used for decision-making and problem-solving.
- Choose 1 piece of federal legislation (e.g., HIPAA, HITECH Act, Meaningful Use), and discuss the requirements that legislation imposes on the use of HIT and the EHR.
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The use of Health Information Technology (HIT) has brought about a significant transformation in the healthcare industry, enabling healthcare providers to make more informed decisions and provide better care to their patients. The implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is one of the most significant advancements in HIT with several benefits, however, it present challenges such as implementing it and managing it over the long run. Moreover, EHRs have given rise to security concerns while maintaining patient privacy. This paper will discuss the implementation of EHR, its financial and health benefits, costs, security concerns, and their utilization in decision-making, and problem-solving. Finally, we will look at the legislative requirements imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Financial and Health Benefits of Implementing an EHR:
The implementation of an EHR has brought about several benefits in terms of financial and healthcare standards. EHRs ensure that patients receive coordinated care while reducing inefficiencies in healthcare organizations. EHRs improve healthcare quality in terms of patient safety, reducing medical errors, and ensuring better patient outcomes. Apart from improving the quality of care, EHRs help in reducing healthcare costs, estimated to be about $78 billion annually (Yaraghi et al., 2016).
Costs of Implementing and Managing an EHR:
There are two costs associated with implementing and managing an EHR; the initial implementation cost and the long-term operational costs. The implementation cost is considerably high, with estimates ranging from $15,000 to $70,000 for a small practice to several million dollars for large healthcare networks (Boland et al., 2016). The long-term operational cost includes hardware and software licenses, maintenance cost, and upgrades, and may exceed the initial implementation cost.
Security Concerns Surrounding EHR:
The implementation of EHRs has given rise to concerns about patient data privacy and security. Healthcare organizations need to implement appropriate measures to ensure that patient data is protected from unauthorized access, disclosure, and theft. Several risks include phishing attacks, hacking, and malware attacks, which can compromise patient data (Noumeir et al., 2015).
EHRs for Decision-making and Problem-solving:
EHRs can be used for decision-making and problem-solving by providing relevant information to healthcare providers. EHRs can capture a wide range of patient data, including demographic data, provider notes, diagnostic and lab reports, and medication data. This data can be analyzed to identify trends, improve healthcare outcomes, and personalize patient care.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 establishes national standards for safeguarding the privacy, security, and confidentiality of patient data. The HIPAA sets requirements for the collection, storage, transmission, and use of electronic health information.
EHRs have revolutionized the healthcare industry, enabling healthcare providers to provide better care to their patients. Implementing EHR comes with substantial costs, but the benefits of EHR outweigh the cost in the long run. While EHRs have brought several benefits, healthcare organizations must ensure that appropriate measures are implemented to protect patient data from unauthorized access and breaches. Finally, compliance with federal legislation such as HIPAA is critical to ensuring patient privacy and data protection while utilizing HIT tools.