University of Maryland Mike P. Cummings  
Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
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Description

Electronic Medical Records and Databases

Electronic medical records are EMR software applications that create and store health information in compliance with HIPAA privacy laws. Electronic health records are stored in a database repository where the information is retrieved for use by a query based searches. This makes the application an ideal application of electronic record keeping. But, there is a problem in that must software applications are not properly documented. The end-user is clueless as to the type of database in use by the software. Some EMR software uses SQL back-ends and others use ASP data types. Both databases are incompatible with the other. Another issue is that some developers say that they use SQL database types. However, this is not always case. The application stores XML or Text files within the SQL capsule rather than storing the data in tables. Therefore, it is impossible to append information that has been collected outside of the EMR onto the SQL record sets. This makes it more expensive for a health organization to scan paper-based charts, because the paperwork needs to be scanned into the EMR application instead of using faster automatic barcode driven applications.

Electronic Medical Records and Meaningful Use

Electronic medical records or EMR for short are a system of computerized health and treatment history for medical patients. The computerized records are stored on a network server. In the long term, the EMR system provides significant cost savings over the old paper-based files. However, in the short term EMR software is more expensive due to the high up-front costs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes provisions called the HITECH Act. The HITECH Act makes available to doctors $19 billion in funding for the purchases of EMR software. But, The Obama Administration's health reimbursement plan requires that a health practice attest to meaning use. Meaningful use is measured and defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The most important requirement is that the EMR system is certified. The certification guarantees that the application adheres to HHS standards and provides that the electronic medical records software meets basic quality, privacy, and HITECH Act standards.

Created25 Aug 2014
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