Without any doubt, the main focus of Global Healthcare System is the application of modern technologies, tools, pharmaceutical products in medicine, and exchange of vital knowledge among healthcare professionals. Moreover, Global Healthcare provides people with high-qualified medical procedures for diet disability, stem cell, weight loss, and cosmetic surgeries. Medical system in the United States is one of the most developed in the world due to its advanced diagnostic equipment. However, doctors and nurses there still use papers and pens to keep track of patient’s history. According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 19 billion dollars were spent on the implementation of informatics in healthcare settings. The aim of this act was digitizing patient data and taking advantages of information technology in medicine.
The electronic charting or medical record (EMR) is the documentation of patient history in the computer. The EMR consists of test results, blood pressure data, medications, problem list, contra-indications, list of allergies, and personal information of patient medical history. The focal benefit of EMR is its electronic version. All the information about a patient is downloaded into computer and located in a medical center. The first effort to digitize medical records was made n 1996 by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In 2004, the eRecord healthcare network was developed, which nowadays contains 4 million electronic medical histories, CT scans, test results, and patients’ personal information.
It is worth mentioning some of the advantages of the EMR. Firstly, electronic medical records significantly save the doctor’s time and assist in fast diagnosis of patient. In the past, doctors and nurses kept medical records in paper folders. It was a tedious procedure to turn over the pages and clarify the exact diagnosis of each patient. With the advent of the EMR, there will be no need to fill out a sheaf of papers when patients seek help from a new doctor. By virtue of electronic medical records, the new doctor will already have the test results, information about medication of patients, and the records of any health problems that their patients face. Secondly, from the ethical point of view, electronic medical record is much more secure than paper one. For example, the access to the EMR is limited and protected by password. Not everybody can have an access to the patient’s personal medical history. According to the hierarchy of people “who are allowed to know”, there are doctors and nurses who can have the access, while receptionists do not have it. Additionally, electronic medical record systems are secured from unauthorized users who want to reach information about a patient. Moreover, the EMR increases the quality of inputting data and its validity. For instance, hand-written records may be hard for understanding, which may contribute to medical failures. Looking into the EMR system, the doctor can easily get the full picture of the patients, as their medical history is immediately accessible from the computer. Consequently, such peculiarities of the electronic charting considerably improve patient-centered care (Greenemeier, 2009).
Undoubtedly, electronic medical records considerably contribute to the improvement of global healthcare. By adopting the EMR, the patient’s personal medical history is available to doctors all around the world. It can be explained by the fact that the US government and Western world in general have made an online medical network, where doctors and nurses can find helpful tips on various medications, drug allergies, or transferred diseases. For example, in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast of the United States, the injured people who were on the EMR got faster treatment compared to those patients whose electronic medical records were unavailable (Powsner, 1998).
However, the scientists argue about the cost of implementation of electronic charting. According to Harvard’s Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management Ashish Jha (2009), “Total amount of money for implementation of electronic charting will reach up 200 million of dollars annually, depending on the location and size of the hospital” (p. 2). Furthermore, some scientists confirm that digitizing of patient medical history will lead to huge debts for the country, since large sums of money will then be needed for electricity. On the contrary, University of Maryland’s Computer Science Professor Ben Sheiderman (2009) suggests, “The power of the EMR consists in its information availability throughout the world, the medical professionals have undoubtedly profound opportunity to diagnose patients and analyze similar diagnosis of their disorders across millions of people” (p. 3). Moreover, the director of National Institute of Standards and Technology Patrick Gallagher (2009) also emphasized the benefits of the EMR, “The electronic medical charting is an effective tool to unite health information together, reduce medical failures and exchange medical experience at the global level” (p. 3). In other words, it means that the EMR saves the money, while there is no need to spend money on the paper folders and extra space in the doctor’s office or recruiting of more employees who will work with these folders. The advantages of electronic medical charting are tremendous, since it prevents medical professionals from making errors, such as illegible handwriting and lack of standards.
To sum up, the EMR is an advanced tool for perfecting modern healthcare system. By adopting electronic charting, hospitals promote high-qualified treatment, effective diagnosis, professional healthcare, and more secure medical records. Therefore, electronic medical records take healthcare system a step further and enhance its focus on efficient care of the patient.