Integration of Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the health care systems aims to improve health care quality and control costs. These records are also crucial since they assist health practitioners to access and record clinical documentation faster than manual recording systems. Electronic health records are also improving on the nurse-patient interaction. Despite the benefits of using these systems of recording health documents their implementation if faced by several challenges and as a result, has broad-reaching implications for the health care sector (Creswell and Sheikh, 2009, p154).
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One of the main challenges affecting implementation of electronic health records in nursing is nurses’ resistance to change. According to Fickenscher and Brakeman (2011), nurses and other medical practitioners prefer to use the manual system of recording documents. They find it more appealing and friendly to use compared to the technological system of keeping records (Bates, 2010, p1). From my personal experience as a family nursing practitioner, I find it challenging to maintain hard copies their patients’ health records. My colleagues who are family nurse practitioners have complained on the security and reliability of the new technology. They prefer to use the manual system of recording documents to the electronic system as a source of information on a patient’s health history (Fickenscher and Brakeman, 2011 p65). This is either because they lack the knowledge of information system or do not appreciate the positive results derived from the use of the new recording systems. From my opinion, this has not been handled properly because there has been insignificant determination to build family nurses’ confidence on the reliability of new technology. From my own experience in family nursing, implementation of the electronic recording systems has tremendously improved health care provision. This is especially so because a family nurse can access vital information on the health records of a patient by a click of a button. In the past, the process would consume a lot of time. The best way to tackle this challenge is to teach the nurse on how best to use the health record system; this will result to meaningful use of the systems. Research of the inventions and how best to increase the acceptance of electronic health record systems among patients, their families and the health practitioners can play a leading role in eliminating this challenge (Murphy, 2011, pp25-29).
Another challenge I have encountered as a family nurse in the implementation of Electronic Health Records is lack of proper planning by the implementation managers. This is a hindrance to the effective implementation of the electronic health records. According to Gruber, et al (2010, pp28-30), lack of a clear and well formulated implementation strategy has made it difficult for nurses and other health practitioners to use the electronic systems in a meaningful way. For example, in family nursing it is possible to find nurses who are willing to use the systems to keep records of their patients, but since the health care administrators have not made plans to explain how the systems work, it is impossible for them to use the systems. Lack of a strategy has led to contractual difficulties between the health sector and suppliers of electronic health record devices. This is because a specialty such as family nursing will most probably require different technological systems from those required by other specialties. There have been reactions from the family nurse practitioners that electronic records systems have no relevance in their work. One of my personal challenges is that I find most of these devices complicated to operate, and I will need training to use them. In my opinion, the decision makers have made little attempts in ensuring that each family nursing unit gets devices that match the activities of the specialty. Most of the time, family nurse practitioners provide basic health care to people and thus, might not find systems meant to record detailed health data useful in the course of their work. Lack of plans on how EHR technology is to be used has made it difficult for procurement of the technological equipments required to make electronic health record system a pure success (Mooney and Boyle, 2011, s5-6). As a personal opinion, implementation of uniform devices is better and more beneficial than use of different systems. This is because all nurses perform a similar task of health care delivery despite belonging to different specialties. Some patients may require the attention of nurses in different specialties. This is because their health issues are similar to various factors that may not fall under one nursing specialty.
The third challenge I have encountered during implementation of the electronic health record systems is that some of the equipments do not cater for the needs of family nursing practice. As a family nurse, I have found it challenging to use machines that are immobile. This is because family nursing can at times involve moving from one are to another to provide basic health care to patients from their homes. Other family nurses have raised similar sentiments (which are yet to be addressed) stating the need for mobile electronic health records. According to Harks and Harvey (2010, pp1-3), the best solution to this issue is to form system usability and meaningful stakeholders’ engagements. I believe such engagements will assist innovators identify the looming challenges at hand. This will lead to efficient and useful record systems.
In conclusion, electronic health record systems have enormous benefits to the whole health sector. Therefore, it is vital for the decision makers to evaluate the necessities of the health system. A proper analysis of the needs of the health care will assist them to implement the use of electronic health record systems in a much better way than now.
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