Electronic health record consists of a patient’s entire medical history that can be accessed by authorized personnel with a hospital code and personal identification number via computer. Many hospitals have already established this system. They also have a system in place that enables patients to view their health record. Although EHR has been around for many years, in February 11, 2009 “the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health,…announced that the Government of Canada…is continuing to support the creation of health information systems [electronic health record] designed to benefit Canadians”(Government of Canada..). Twenty years ago, nursing roles had a very limited access to computers. Today, they not only help care for patients but also incorporate with technology such as EHR to provide a more efficient patient care. From a nursing perspective, EHR will bring many positive outcomes such as: improving quality of patient care, providing access to health information instantly, making patient information legible, allowing communication and referrals between health care professionals, enabling better chronic disease management, and reducing costs in paper usage and bringing an end to storage of old medical charts. However, there is so much support to make EHR come alive, it is also a very challenging effort for all of the EHR representatives involved to help health care professional understand the need to improve on patient care. Moreover, it is also important to educate health care professionals to understand how EHR works and what benefits it can bring to the current system.
DEFINITION AND SCOPE
Electronic health record is a “digital version of [patient’s entire medical history such as lab and diagnostic tests, past history, prescription drug profiles, immunization records, allergies, and much more information can be] found in the traditional paper record” (Czar & Hebda, p.527). The EHR may be accessible online from many interoperable automated systems. Within these electronic networks that can assist the electronic amalgamation of health care providers by enabling the retrieval of medical information when and where it is most needed. EHR is still new to Canadians, but when the implementation takes effect, according to Richard Alvarez, the ”continued investment in the development of electronic health record systems across Canada will result in continued modernization of the health-care system, with tangible results for Canadians in every corner of the country,“ President and CEO,