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Healthcare: Safety of Electronic Medical Records

There are normally several clinical as well as administrative transactions that take place within the health care setting that are in most cases very complex. This is therefore likely to give quite a good number of errors, which can be dealt with by establishing a good Healthcare Information Technology system. For instance, the development of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) can be of paramount importance if the health care system is targeting to reduce the various errors that occur. On the contrary, the EMR does not guarantee that it will do away with these errors completely. However, there have been developments on other HIT programs that can be useful to the health care system such as the bar-coded medication administration (BCMA) as well as the Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) amongst others. These systems are intended to reduce as well as prevent any errors that may occur mainly through proper designing, development as well as implementation (Harrington, 2010, P.31)

The various systems used in the Electronic medical record have resulted in more harm than good. According to research, the CPOE has been applauded for the reduction of illegible orders and more so the transcription errors (Harrington, 2010, p.34). However, it has been proven that this particular system has been responsible for the many problems experienced in the health systems today. For instance, communication has become more difficult. More so, the unintended medication errors made by the systems have led to an increase in mortality rates. In addition to this, there have been instances where the nurses are not alerted when new patients step in as the physicians will only remotely record this.

Given the importance of communication in any organization, its hindrance may result in the collapse of such an organization. The development of these Medical systems may result in very little staff interaction within the health setting (Hillestad, 2005, p.1112). This in turn may lead to the explosion of certain problems that were slowly boiling underneath. For instance, when the nurses do not get the information on new patient orders, this may result in an increase in the mortality rates within the health environment yet the clinical staff may end up pointing fingers. The blame game goes ahead to cultivate a culture of disunity and disrespect for each other hence poor delivery of services as a whole.

I tend to disagree with the author as he mentions that CDSS has to some extent enhanced the performance of most medical practitioners and that the effects of these medical systems on patients have been understudied. This is inaccurate because there have been a good number of researches done over the last decade and the effects of the various medical systems have been clearly outlined. The previous researchers have mentioned that all the systems problems such as the failure to flag drug allergies contradictions or having problems with clinical staffing directly and indirectly affect the patient at the end of the day. Therefore, for the author to claim that very little research has been done on the effect of these systems on the patient.

All in all, technology is bound to make errors considering that the software has been developed by humans. Therefore, the healthcare system should not entirely rely on these newly developed systems that seem to make work easier. The management teams of medical organizations should encourage more interaction between the personnel by reducing the reliance on these systems.


Harrington,L. (2010). Safety issues related to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR): Synthesis of the Literature from the Last Decade, 2000-2009: Journal of HealthCare management.56 (1). 31-43.

Hillestad, R. et al. (2005).Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care? Potential Health Benefits, Savings and Costs: Health Affairs. 24 (5). 1103-1117.