Electronic Record System at ABC Hospital
The use of electronic record systems has become popular among health care providers. However, it is a new system, which departs from the older paper based systems traditionally dominating record keeping in health care. The ABC Hospital is in a process of transforming its medical records from a paper to electronic based system in response to the government requirement and dynamics of the health care industry. As such, the hospital will have to evaluate its human resources, leadership and marketing approaches for reflecting its new approach to delivery of services. The purpose of this capstone project is to discuss the problem of electronic record keeping at the institution and recommend some solutions to the three identified functional areas. The project also analyzes a long-term financial and organizational impact of some recommendations to the hospital.
Keywords: electronic medical records, human resource, skills, knowledge, training, leadership
Origins of the Organization
The ABC Hospital was established five years ago. It is a privately owned health center with 120 staff members. It provides medical services to more than 2000 patients. The hospital provides services to the patients with different conditions that ranges from simple ailments like malaria to more complicated ones like cancer and diabetes. As a result, it has a good number of return patients who have their medical records kept with it. With the high number of return customers, the ABC Hospital has had to deal with a high volume of records generated on a daily basis. Due to this, doctors and other health care workers have found it difficult to capture the information in a format being easily accessible.
Description of the Industry
The health care industry is increasingly becoming reliant on technology in all aspects of operations. From treating patients to keeping their medical records, technology is transforming the way hospitals provide their services. In addition to the competitiveness of the industry, which requires that hospitals compete for clients, there are the following legal requirements by the government. All hospitals, both private and public, use electronic systems to record the information about their patients. As such, health care providers have been forced to adopt systems that can help them to comply with the government directive. Moreover, they can assist to compete with other players in the industry when it comes to providing quality health care services.
The ABC Hospital is managed by a top management team headed by a Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors. This team has a responsibility of managing the hospital. It has to initiate programs and changes to enable the hospital comply with new requirements from regulators of the health care industry or respond to the demands from consumers in the industry. The leadership team provides allocations of funds for various projects that can impact the organizational and financial standings at the hospital.
The ABC Hospital has an operational budget of 100,000 dollars. The money is received from patients and other sponsors of this facility. This money is used to initiate programs and projects deemed as beneficial to the long term objectives of the institution. The costs are also applied to pay salaries and wages at the institution. The budgetary allocation is done on the basis of urgency and importance of the project to the continued performance and improvement of the hospital. As such, the allocated funds are directed to projects deemed as having a great impact on the staff and patients of the hospital.
Problem or Business Need
Health care institutions are faced with an avalanche of information that they need to keep for future records. The records of employees and patients require the proper storage and retrieval tools. Besides, the technology and resources available to capture and record this information are limited. It is also notable that the core business of health care institutions is to provide health care services to patients and not to keep records. However, record keeping is important for better and quality services to these patients. Also, the government through the Affordable Care Act requires health institutions to keep an electronic record of all details of patients in a given format. These dynamics have increased the cost of maintaining the information in health institutions (Wang, Ruowang, & Perrizo, 2014). As a result, health institutions have lost their revenue trying to conform to the needs to have their information organized and also retrieve data whenever they are required. Physicians in hospitals are also mandated by law to reduce paper work through standardized billing and electronic exchange of information. Health care institutions are not well prepared to ensure that their information is stored electronically as demanded by clients and the law. They, however, must comply with these dynamics in the industry. Thus, the need for good leadership in electronic information keeping, appropriate human resources, and the increasing demand for electronic health information from clients are the impetus. It helps driving the changes in the way health care institutions manage their information (Ferrari & Heller, 2014).
Management and keeping of electronic information is an endeavor that requires sufficient human resources in terms of knowledge and skills. Most physicians are not usually trained in information management, specifically electronic record keeping. Thus, when they are pressed by the dynamics in the industry to keep and manage their information in a particular format, they are stuck. It occurs because of the insufficient knowledge that they have on electronic information management. Doctors and physicians are expected to type information on a laptop while assessing their patients. It is time-consuming and costly on the part of each doctor, in particular, and the health care center, in general. When the information is captured, the doctor may not have the necessary skills to transfer that information to the relevant storage areas or transmit it to the relevant departments where the information is required (Allard, 2013).
To facilitate the process of transferring storing and retrieving medical information about each particular patient, hospitals and other health care institutions are forced to employ an expert in this area. Such person should be solely dedicated to transferring, storing, and retrieving the data on behalf of a doctor. It has several disadvantages. The first one is that it is costly to the hospital. The second issue is that it violates the principle of confidentiality of medical information between the doctor and the patient. The fact that someone is hired to take care of the medical record keeping and retrieval means the following. The third party is introduced between the patient and the doctor which may affect the relationship that the two ones may have with each other.
Leadership in Adopting Electronic Records
The need for electronic medical records in hospitals is driven by a number of factors. One of them is a legal requirement by law that all doctors should keep an electronic medical record of their patients. The timelines for complying with this directive have been set. Hospitals that failed to meet the timelines could face the law. The other factor is that most patients are now demanding to be able to access their electronic medical records from remote areas. It is a factor of competing in the health care industry where a hospital is able to provide its patients with their medical information. It should be available from a remote place as preferable. Also, noting that technological advancements have infiltrated the health care industry and almost every part of the human life, it means that hospitals must comply with the trend just like in any other industry (Allard, 2013).
As many hospitals do not focus on management and organization of information in an electronic form, they require a dedicated person or a team, if the facility is large. It should be done to lead a function of electronic record keeping and retrieval. This work requires an expert with experience and knowledge in electronic medical record management in order to achieve the desired results from the whole process. The leadership that goes into digitizing and capturing of information about patients must be done within the expert knowledge and systems available for the data digitizing. Therefore, most hospitals have not been able to get the right leadership in the process of trying to move the medical information from paper based systems to electronic ones. The result is that hospitals are experiencing a transformation in their leadership structure. Today, the people are required to get knowledge and skills about keeping of records in an electronic format (McLaughlin & Richins, 2014).
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Marketing and Market Demand
The marketing of health care services has moved to the Internet. As such, there is a huge demand from consumers for the electronic record and information about the services that an institution provides. This demand and the fact that health care industry has become more competitive contribute to the need to adopt electronic systems. It will provide the necessary information to consumers of health care services. For example, diabetic patients are now using electronic medical records to manage their conditions.
It is now easier and cheaper for patients to access and manage their conditions where their health care service provider is able to give them information that is digitized. As a market moves towards the consumption of the electronic information, health care providers must also move to suchh a trend. They need to have the right systems and capacity to provide these data in a format being demanded by consumers. The data revolution caused by advancements in technology allows institutions to monitor a larger patient population, handle health emergencies in a better way, and discover the conditions of patients faster. Hospitals also need to track their customers through the use of better analytic systems and make comparisons for effective management of their conditions (McLaughlin & Richins, 2014).
Solution for Functional Areas
The hospital will hire a consultant in electronic medical records to advise the management on the best way. They have to introduce a system that can capture and transmit electronic records. Also, the consultant will give advice on the cheapest but quality methods to be used to store and retrieve electronic medical records for patients. The management will also organize a series of training for physicians and other staff on how to record and digitize information. The hospital will hire an expert staff member with a responsibility of ensuring that electronic data are secure and in an acceptable format.
The management at the hospital will give the hired staff the responsibility of leading the process of digitizing the information as well as acquiring the necessary tools. The management must also provide the resources to train and purchase the tools. Thus, the assigned person will need to facilitate the storage and retrieval of this information. An inventory of patients will guide the process of the data digitizing. Regular sick people will need to have their input in the entire process through suggestions and opinions. The legal framework provided by the government will be used to develop electronic systems suiting the provisions of the government (Denning, 2013).
It is recommended that all the services provided at the health center will be done through the electronic media. Clients will be given their medical information in the electronic format to encourage them to support the efforts of data digitizing. A team of professional marketers will be formed to analyze the demands of consumers in the market and advise the management on the best approach to use when digitizing the information. It is also recommended that the management allocates financial resources towards marketing of its services to consumers. Implementation Resources
|Resources (People, Finance, and Teams)||Functional Area||Additional Details|
|James Wilson – the Head of electronic content||Human resource||He will be in charge of leading the overall process of transition from a paper record to its digital content over a period of 8 months. The cost of this process will be $ 10,000. He will also be in charge of training and organizing whether the staff is trained on how to use the new systems to capture information.|
|Hospital management||Leadership||The management will provide resources and directions on digitizing the material at the hospital. The management will also provide the resources in terms of financing the transition to be successful.|
|Marketing team. The cost of marketing new services to customers will be $ 5,000||Marketing||The team charged with marketing will initiate programs and activities being aimed at marketing services of the hospital to its consumers. It will also be mandated with the task of ensuring that the information is given is being in an electronic form.|
Timeline for Solution Implementation
|Activity||Start date||End date||Resource||Planned duration||Actual duration||Variance||Lessons learned|
|Assessment of the information capture and the process at the hospital||1st May 2014||15th May 2014||Expert consultant||2 weeks||2 weeks||Zero||It was easy to get consultant services from the market because of the availability of consultants. However, the cost of consultation was more the budgeted one for 10%|
|Acquisition of relevant tools to aid in the information digitization||20th May 2014||30th May 2014||Head of electronic content||10 days||10 days||Zero||The Head of electronic content was an expert in this area and knew where to get the relevant tools. The vendor of the software had provided the initial training on how to use the system to store the information.|
|Training of staff||1st June 2014||31st of July 2014||Head of electronic content||45 days||60 days||-15 days||The head of electronic content was overwhelmed as the number of staff members was rather high. Also, the technical aspects in the tools and systems to be used were beyond the grasp of an average use. It caused the duration to be longer than planned|
|Marketing of new services to users; both physicians and patients||1st August 2014||31st August 2014||Marketing team||30 days||30 days||Zero||More marketing needs to be done in an area of using the system to capture and access the information. The Head of electronic content should also explain to users this. Most users indicated their reservations about the security of the information in electronic formats.|
Long-Term Financial and Organizational Impact
The electronic information will help the center to reduce the cost of storage and retrieval since physicians will be able to access it very easily. The records of the staff will also be located in one central area. It will help the human resource department to place them whenever required. Furthermore, the records are going to be secure in the sense that people will have their passwords and login details. It will allow them to access their information only. It will be a departure from the current paper system where records are kept in a store and anybody can access them without requiring the difficult information to enter the storage room. Therefore, the hospital will save on the cost of storing the information in large rooms and also reduce the number of staff to maintain the paper data. The return on investment will surpass the cost of implementing the recommendations. Physicians and other staff will be focusing on the core business of the hospital, i.e. treating people. The management of the hospital will also be able to control and monitor the performance of the staff through the information that they capture into the system.
In a long-term perspective, the hospital will be able to save money on paying salaries to people that work in the information center. Through training, more staff will be able to take up leadership positions in their respective departments. It will positively influence the productivity of employees at the medical institution. Also, the hospital will be able to get more clients who want to have the electronic medical information given to them at their homes. It will reduce the cost of having many people at the hospital to get their personal data about their conditions and treatment. They will be able to access that information from their homes even. The organization will benefit from using electronic medical records as it will be able to conform to the legal requirements and standards approved by the industry regulator. The marketing of these services will provide an opportunity to the hospital to become more competitive and desirable for many customers. The marketing team formed will be used to market the hospital services to users in the industry. The staff will also be able to work in other areas to promote the services of the institution further.
In conclusion, the ABC Hospital serves a large clientele with health care services. In order to maintain their records, the medical institution maintains an inventory of medical records that belong to some of its customers. The hospital has relied on a paper-based system to keep its data since it has been established. In response to the government directive and demand in the market, the institution is expected to digitize the paper records it is holding in its stores. It also plans to implement such a system to record the subsequent information in an electronic form. For this task to become possible, it will have to be considered in terms of the human resources available to carry out the work, some leadership to direct the process, and a strong marketing approach. It will help to pose the hospital as a competent player in the health care service provision. Together with the recommendations provided, it will be possible for the medical institution to realize its set objectives.