I am definitely skeptical about the success of EMR systems and EHR systems, as well. They are only as successful from the technical aspect as the ability to interface them across not only multiple locations, but multiple users. Using these systems successfully requires due diligence in the following areas:
1) Knowing the performance triggers of the system -- how much can it hold and what are the points that trigger slowed performance of the system?
2) Complete and thorough archiving of electronic source records -- required by healthcare regulatory agencies, all with varying retention periods.
3) Thorough quality-control efforts by users throughout the process -- reliance on system accuracy is faulty; computers do not innately contain reason.
4) Auditing of data -- this can result in incorrect patients and results, if not monitored carefully.
5) Metadata definitions -- without this being clearly defined and negotiated with possible receivers, the receiving systems cannot effectively receive or process the data.
These are just some of the concerns that I have experienced with these types of systems. I would love to spend more time elaborating and perhaps would be able to do so in other circumstances, but this is a good start! Thanks to all who are waking up to the possible ugliness of this initiative in the industry.
IT Quality Assurance Manager
DCL Medical Laboratories
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