Describe 3 challenges that occur with conversion to EHR and suggest a solution to overcome.

1Example 1 . Technological difficulties. Since every computer program is doomed to have problems, EHR is no exception. During my rotations when I had to work with EHR, I had to go through frozen screens, program shut down and what not. These kind of problems are a distraction and a waste of time for the clinician and the patient. Since we don’t have access to patient’s documents  and can’t type anything, all we can do is take notes on a paper, let the patient go and do all the work later. Now imagine this issue lasting for a couple of hours.


Solution: have a backup system and have the IT available at any time.


  1. Time. Training staff, learning the different programs, acquiring or enhancing computer skills, typing lengthy notes while seeing patients, scanning paper charts and all documents into EHR are all time consuming.


Solution: allow more time for training and for scanning documents. The problem is that not everyone is computer friendly. Some people just don’t have good computer skills, teaching them how to navigate through programs can take a lot of time and we need to allow it. Having more than one training session for the entire team can increase productivity, also have continuous training when new features are added to the program.


  1. Costs. Purchasing the programs, paying different fees for different services that come with the program and maintaining IT services, are all very pric




Example 2

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There are many challenges that occur with conversion to EHR:

Misuse of templates-

We all have heard stories about health care providers overusing the templates without asking detailed questions.This can be fixed by re-explaining to them that templates are a great resource but they can not be used all the time. Sometimes these templates are not 100% accurate to the information the patient is giving. Therefore, health care providers need to spend more time asking detailed questions and documenting this information accurately.

Problems with technology-

Technology has created easier and more effective ways to be more organized in a more timely manner, but there could always be issues with technology. I remember when I was doing my surgery rotation at a very known hospital, in my first week Epic was being launched. The first week was  a little hectic but the IT department hired many technicians to be on the floor and their duty was to help anyone that was having trouble,  including students. Those technicians made the transition smooth. A few months later being at a different rotation, Epic was being launched, the difference was that there was no IT personnel for support. That week  that hospital was a disaster. One way to overcome this problem is to plan ahead and to always have somebody form IT department available to help if assistance is needed due to a question about EHR, especially those health care providers that are older and not so much computer friendly.

Less time spent with patients and less eye contact

Many health care providers start typing in the computer while in the examination room, asking the patient questions without any eye contact. This bad practice prevents the patient from trusting the health care provider. To overcome this, health care providers must try to form a bond with their patients by giving the time necessary and having good eye contact regardless of the time restraints.

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Example 3 No system is perfect and this includes the electronic health records. Here are just some challenges that EHRs present with:


  1. Interference with provider-patient communication. Many times in an an office the provider is stuck navigating multiple menus just to chart the simplest of information. This becomes cumbersome and takes away from the face-to-face interaction with the patient, on top of being time consuming. The best way to solve this issue is for developers to work with clinicians to create a better flow for the EHR. This can be either through direct contact with providers, surveys, or open-ended feedback. Since clinicians are the ones utilizing EHR, they should have a voice in its creation and in any updates to the system.
  2. With each provider and each hospital using different EHR, there is an issue with sharing of data. Because of this, patients cannot seamlessly transfer care between providers and clinicians do not have direct access to workups and treatments of other health professional. This gets in the way of efficiency and cost effectiveness, especially if lab work or imaging needs to be repeated. A way to solve this issues is to create a shared database where, with the permission of the patient, information can be accessed by any health institution no matter what EHR they utilize. This way, unnecessary repeat workups can be avoided and vital information can be accessed with greater ease.
  3. In this day and age, technology makes life simpler but it also makes us more vulnerable. Information is uploaded to the internet, leaving us open to cyber hackers. Electronic health records are no different. The conversion to EHRs makes maintaining patient privacy a major concern. HIPPA was put in place to protect patient information and therefore it is our responsibility to secure EHRs. There needs to be stronger firewalls and encryption codes put in place with 24 hour monitoring. As such, alerts can be quickly sent out when there is an attempt to access patient information without authorization.
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