Electronic Medical Records In Health Care

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Electronic Medical Records in HealthCare: A Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design

Electronic Medical Records in HealthCare: A Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design


Recently, physicians and other health care providers have been inundated with information regarding electronic medical records ("EMR"). Medical tests, prescriptions, medical histories and other information would be kept in electronic files that could follow a patient from one doctor's office to another or to a hospital or other facility, as well as allow patients access to their own information. Proponents of EMR believe that such systems will improve patient care, prevent medical errors and lower costs. However, it is believed that the vast majority of health care transactions in the United States are still taking place on paper, whether it involves a patient chart, a prescription, a consultation or a laboratory test result. I agree with (Leedy and Ormrod (2005) that yes it is imperative that the scholar-practitioner be able to discern among the many possible research designs and select an appropriate method, and specific research design, for exploring and answering the research question selected for study (Leedy and Ormrod, 2005).

Objectives of the Research

The objective of the paper is to discuss the use of both qualitative and quantitative designs for the electronic medical records in health care.

Significance of the Study

The study is significant because we see that according to a recent survey, less than one-third of all medical practices in the United Kingdom have EMR systems. In early 2009, the British government allocated, as part of the economic stimulus program, nearly a billion dollars in Medicare and Medicaid compensation bonuses available to hospitals and physicians who switch to EMR. Chang, et al (2004) mentions in addition, the Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates may be reduced in the future for claims submitted by providers who are not using EMR. Through this carrot and stick approach, the federal government is addressing two otherwise distinct issues: subsidizing the EMR market and promoting the use of EMR as a desirable attribute of the nation's health care system. Not only would the switching to EMR stimulate the businesses engaged in providing EMR services, but the Obama administration believes that significant health care savings will result by eliminating the redundancies inherent in paper records.

Electronic Medical Records in HealthCare

New technological developments create new legal issues, and EMR is not an exception. Issues relating to the preservation and authenticity of medical records are relevant, as are concerns relating to amending or altering records, digital signatures and identification of users.

The economic stimulus program compensation, noted above, is in the form of increased reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid. To receive those funds, a practice must make "meaningful use" of an EMR system by 2011. Unfortunately, "meaningful use" has not yet been fully defined. A proposed definition, issued June 15, 2009, requires the physician to meet a considerable number of objectives and measures by 2011. For example, electronic prescriptions, drug interactions, patient demographics, lab tests and progress notes must be included in each patient's ...
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