I find it intersting that the challenges faced in Myanmar quite similar with the concerns voiced by nursing staff at my workplace regarding the adoption of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. In my opinion, the advantages and disadvantages of implementing EMR systems can be outlined as follows:
– Time Efficiency and Patient Safety:
EMRs significantly save time, reduce administrative tasks, and enhance patient safety. For instance, before the implementation of the EMR system, requesting blood from the blood bank involved extensive paperwork, manual document handling, and potential errors due to the lack of decision support. With EMRs, many nursing tasks, including blood transfusion procedures, can be conducted more efficiently and safely, contributing to improved care quality and patient outcomes.
– Seamless Communication Between Departments:
EMRs promote seamless communication between hospital departments. Traditionally, acquiring paper medical records for each patient during hospital visits was burdensome, involving significant effort and time. In inter-departmental consultations, physical documents led to many of paperwork and make the process very slow. EMRs helps eliminate these challenges, facilitating efficient communication between units and departments.
– EMRs helps Keep the documentation more organised, complete, easy to retrieve, reduce redundancy and prevent physical damage .
The completeness of the documentation is crucial, as it serves as the very important evidence of patient treatment. Therefore, after the implementation of EMRs, all documents are automatically stored in the system and categorized into groups, making them much easier to retrieve. Additionally, this digital storage helps reduce the risk of physical damage to the records. Moreover, the EMR system reduces data redundancy and prevents the duplication of patient information, such as names or IDs
– Increase patient’s satisfaction. Since EMRs are linked with mobile applications in some procedures, patients have a better opportunity to manage their health right at their fingertips. At my hospital, patients can download an application, allowing them to perform various activities on their own, such as making online registrations, scheduling appointments, using telemedicine feature, processing payments online, refilling medication, and checking the list of lab tests they need to undergo. Mobile app and the EMRs system can reduce the time spent in the hospital and facilitate patients which helps increase their satisfaction.
– Increased Staff Workload: Similar to the situation described in the research paper, we are currently in a transitional period, and as a result, many processes still require duplication of work, both in paper and electronic forms. Although the electronic system can reduce staff workload for some tasks, there are still numerous tasks that need to be done using both methods. For instance, the medication administration process: a doctor orders medication through the computer and also records it on a paper chart. At the same time, nurses must retrieve the doctor’s order from the computer and write it onto paper. Despite being in the middle of this transition, the system has the potential to prevent medication errors with its decision support system.
– Staff Burnout: Due to the increased workload, many staff members experience burnout and leave their profession. In my opinion, the implementation of EMRs has brought about significant changes in work processes. Traditional methods are no longer in use. Some staff, especially those who are not tech-savvy, exhibit resistance and reluctance to adapt. Because of this shift, many departments are making efforts to educate and train staff in using EMRs related to their field of work, including nursing.
– EMRs system is Costly: While these systems provide numerous benefits, the best vendors are often very expensive. Hospitals require a significant budget for the implementation of an EMR system. Higher quality implies a higher price. Therefore, some features of lower-priced systems might not be as user-friendly when compared to higher-priced systems. Systems with user-friendly and usability features can alleviate staff burden and promote the quality of care.
– Data security: Although EMRs limited authorized access, they still pose a risk of patients’ personal data breaches. This vulnerability is due to potential hacking or unauthorized. The robust security protocols and continuous monitoring is needed.