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Challenges in Implemention of Electronic Medical Records

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 1/31/2011

The challenges to electronic medical records implementation are widespread. However, they are concentrated in three main areas: costs, compatibility, and security. These three areas can determine the success of an implementation.

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    Electronic medical records (EMR) are used within some of the biggest facilities within the United States. There is still the opportunity, however, for more health care facilities to implement an electronic medical record system. In the beginning when a hospital or medical center is setting up an electronic medical records system, it should contact any of the key players who will use the system to ask for input.

    This would mean having a general meeting to include physicians, nurses and other health professionals who will actually use the system on a daily basis. At the moment, there are various government officials that are hoping that this can be implemented in all health care institutions. Other parts of the world there are various challenges that have delayed the setup of an electronic medical record implementation system. The challenges in the implementation of an EMR.

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    Compatibility & Integration

    At the very basic level, one problem an institution can have is to ensure that the program they have setup is compatible with the main hospital system. It will just create more work for doctors, nurses, and other health staff if the EMR system does not integrate within the main computer system of the hospital.

    This can lead to frustration, and instead of it making the workload easier, it will create the opposite effect. Therefore, a hospital will have many other applications, and these should all integrate smoothly without any bugs.

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    The Costs

    One of the greatest challenges to the process of electronic medical records implementation is the cost associated with them. As it is a new system that requires more technology and knowledge to implement, initially the costs to do so might seem staggering.

    The amount of money that the hospital or medical institution will save in the long term, however, should not be overlooked. If hospitals only focus on the initial bill to instilling an electronic medical system, it will take longer for them to realize the benefits of it. A hospital should look at the EMR as a long-term investment instead of only thinking of the setup and training costs to get everything started.

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    Security and Privacy

    One of the major challenges to the implementation of electronic medical records involves keeping them private and secure. Opponents to EMRs feel that it is not possible to properly secure patient records, especially if they are in an electronic format. Opponents believe that there use will make the system more vulnerable to hacking or that the information might be misused in some way.

    These records must not only be secured from someone wanting to access personal information, but they also need to be kept private from companies that might use the information to their gain. e.g. a pharmaceutical company targeting patients with a specific condition. More than anything, one of the key challenges in the debate of implementing electronic records is how they will be stored long-term.