Some felt as though this makes it easier for anyone to look up their information, therefore,paper records seemed safer (Shield, Goldman, Anthony, Wang, Doyle, & Borkan, 2010).Surveys have also found that patients seemmore accepting of a transition to EHR if theycan be more proactive in the role of ownershipof their records (Berk, Cohen, Callaly, & Lauder,2008). Considering the fact that more peoplecould have access to EHR, patients are morecomfortable with the notion of knowing whosees their medical information.The Government is aware of the fearsassociated with patient privacy and security andhave been working to add provisions to privacypolicies. In 2009, Congress began to improvethe privacy and security rules under HIPAA.Congress realized that for the medical industryto switch from paper to EHR, new enforcementmechanisms must be enacted for ensuring therecords’ privacy and security (Health andHuman Services [HHS], 2009). According toHealth and Human Services (HHS), theHITECH Act, in Title XIII of the ARRA wascreated to make changes to the HIPAA privacypolicies. These amendments to HIPAA intend tomake protected electronic health information“unusable, unreadable, or indecipherable tounauthorized individuals” (Jacques, 2011).Provisions found in subtitle D of the HITECH Act aim to support the enforcement of HIPAAprivacy regulations concerning EHR (HHS,2009). Subtitle D establishes four categories of violations and sets penalty amounts for eachtier. Healthcare lawyers believe that along withthe HITECH Act, enforcement of privacypolicies will increase causing healthcareproviders to prioritize patient privacy protection.With rigorous laws and regulations being setforth for EHR, patient privacy should notbecome a risk associated with the transition toEHR.
Accuracy and Efficiency in Transfer of Information
Technology has advanced but inhealthcare the systems used became archaic.Everything was kept separate and records werestockpiled. It took weeks and even months totransfer records from facility to facility. With theexecution of the HITECH act companies canupgrade to a stealthy system that has enhancedefficiency and functioning.Electronic records allow all patientinformation to be kept together, so that thewhole patient could be seen and treated, rather than bits and pieces. EHR allows thedevelopment of a comprehensive database of structured patient information including allactive medical problems and diagnoses,hospitalizations, office visits, admission anddischarge summaries, as well as lists of currentmedications and allergic reactions. All thisinformation is stored in chronological order preventing confusion and mistakes when data isinterpreted. In addition, any lab tests or imagingstudies are uploaded electronically and can beaccessed from any location. The primaryadvantage of this is the high accuracy inrelaying the information between healthcareprofessionals. For example, a primary admittingphysician could be discussing findings on a CTscan with a surgical consultant while incompletely different locations. Information couldalso be accessed at bedside or the physician'shome via computer which leads to promptupdates and no lag in the care process. A qualitative prospective interventionstudy was conducted to investigate the benefitsof EMR implementation at the private practicelevel. The study involvedthe introduction of EMR in six private practices,which weresubsequently followed over a sixteen-monthperiod.