President Obama, like every other president, has signified many changes he would like to see. Whether they are social, political or economic, the changes are always meant to push the American people a little further. We are asked to grab not what is within our grasp, but that which is just outside of our reach. To that end, sometimes the changes take hold and sometimes not.
One of the Obama Administration’s goals is to start modernizing health care. And through a series of stimulus packages that are in the billions of dollars, to incorporate an EHR system that may help reduce “preventable medical errors.” There are many obstacles to overcome to make an EHR effective, but the outcome could make a dramatic impact on health care. But what effect will it have on the MTs and medical transcription service organizations (MTSOs) out there?
One obstacle to overcome is privacy, or perhaps lack thereof in an EHR system. Multiple access points of patient data over an open network like the Internet increases possible loss of security. As electronic data may be more difficult to secure, it may even mandate a stricter HIPAA definition in protecting this patient data. HIPAA, which regulates the use and disclosure of certain information held by “covered entities,” establishes regulations for the use and disclosure of protected health information (PHI). And though security practices for networks have been established, wireless networks may pose a few more risks.
Another significant obstacle is older record integration with the newer EHR system. We have all seen it. The file rooms filled to the brim. Boxes half crushed with the lettering on the front written in black magic marker. And invariably the box where the Smith records are (Sl-Sz) was found in the Bs. These files need to be a part of the records for pre-existing conditions, histories and similar information. Scanning these documents is possible. But the process is extremely expensive and very time consuming. The differences in original sizes, as well as degradation of the material, may even make some of the scans illegible. In addition, destroying data in a shredder is foolproof, but destroying electronic data may be a little more concerning.
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