I think the use of electronic health records in nursing is a great communication tool for the inter-professional healthcare team. It allows access to all updated information about a patient so providers are on the same page and can provide the best care possible. The nurse is able to access patient history, current labs, orders, and much more in the electronic health record. The technology also prompts the nurse if there are critical lab values, medications that overdue, medication interactions, etc. There is definitely a learning curve, especially when there are different electronic health record systems between hospitals. However, I think they are easy enough to navigate and are overall a really good asset in providing quality patient care.
HIE stands for health information exchange. HIE is a software that allows different healthcare providers to access comprehensive information about a patient while still complying with HIPAA. This information includes notes about previous provider visits and health history. The sharing of this information allows the nurse to understand the larger background of the patient and the course of their healthcare. This can guide the healthcare team members in their decision making. Facilities that have access to HIE include hospitals, clinics, labs, long-term care facilities, and others. There is great benefit in care when the most up to date information is standardized and shared among different healthcare teams and facilities for one patient.
I think there is ongoing learning to be done regarding electronic health records. There are benefits and risks with the use of technology in healthcare. It is convenient to be able to share all of the same information about a patient with different healthcare teams that participate in their care. It is also good to have the technology prompt the healthcare team members in times where they need to use their own judgement and critical thinking. However, it is definitely important not to rely completely on technology as mistakes can happen with computers as well – the technology does not have the ability to think the way a human does. This is why the user has the ability to override certain things in situations where the technology is not correct. Electronic health records and HIE are certainly valuable in providing quality, ongoing patient care.