development of the electronic medical record (EMR)
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The development of the electronic medical record (EMR) has been a pivotal advancement within nursing and to the delivery of healthcare. I have been a nurse for 19 years. While the electronic medical record was difficult to embrace in the beginning, it has proven to be a reliable and necessary tool. EMR has evolved over time impacting delivery of care and improving outcomes including time sensitive acute care patient scenarios resulting in positive outcomes (Sweeney BSN, 2017). The availability of viewing labs and health records simultaneously allows nurses and critical care team members, i.e. pharmacist and intensivist, the ability to make safe time sensitive decisions for patients.
As a critical care nurse, things can go bad quickly at the bedside. For example, a patient arrives to the ED in an acute CHF exacerbation. Lab work, radiologic studies and a baseline of vital signs are crucial to fast and effective care. If this patient is established in the system, baseline lab values, previous radiologic test for comparison and possibly even notes from a specialist i.e. cardiology/nephrology are available while waiting on new test to arrive and stabilizing the patient. This information is available to the entire team instantaneously through his/her EMR. EMR has allowed physicians, nurses and other medical team members to make safe and effective decisions producing favorable and effective outcomes. For example, knowledge of the patient’s renal function or availability to notes from his/her renal physician will direct the ED physician to the appropriate treatment. This could potentially avoid possible long-term effects to this patients’ kidneys and provides insight to treatment options that have worked well for this patient in the past. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) supports this with study results noting fewer medication errors, improved quality of care with and cost savings as a result of fewer medical errors from utilizing the EMR (“Electronic Health Reporter,” 2018).
Nurses have contributed to the evolution of the EMR and applications centered toward favorable outcomes. The role of the informatic nurse has changed with the evolution of healthcare redefining roles and forms, it is not consistent and will change as healthcare evolves (Nagle, Sermeus, Junger, & Bloomberg, 2017). Nurses will continue to play a profound role in the development of EMR and other tools available to provide safe and effective patient care.
How Nurses Are Using Health Informatics to Improve Patient Care. (2018). Retrieved from https://electronichealthreporter.com/nurses-using-health- informatics-improve-patient-care/
Nagle, L. M., Sermeus, W., Junger, A., & Bloomberg, L. S. (2017). Evolving Role of the Nursing Informatics Specialist . Forecasting Informatics Competencies for Nurses in the Future of Connected Health, 212-221. https://doi.org/doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-738-2-212
Sweeney BSN, N, J. (2017). Healthcare Informatics [Entire issue]. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 21(1). Retrieved from https://www.himss.org/library/healthcare-informatics