Technology Infrastructures for Healthcare Access to Rural Residents Essay

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Given the recent passage of the heath care bill, and complicated language within the bill it is unclear if electronic health records (EHR) systems will be mandatory. Nonetheless, research indicates that electronic Health Records improve patient safety and satisfaction. However, the implementation cost of this process is significant. Memorial Hospital in Wyoming, a 99 bed hospital, implemented a full electronic medical records system in 18 months at a cost of $2 million dollars. Memorial Hospital did have a successful implementation and was able to stay within budget and on-time (“Lessons Learned”, 2009). Research indicates that initial cost of EHR systems is $44,000 per full-time employee (FTE) with the ongoing maintenance cost of $8500 per FTE (Miller, West, Broem, Ganchoff, 2005). Given the significant cost it is very important that the culture of the organization is ready for the transformation from paper to electronic. Creating an implementation strategy will help ensure the project stays on time and budget.
Health information technology (health IT) enables healthcare providers to improve patient care by secure use while sharing health information with others as authorized by the patient. The use of electronic health records (EHRs) constitutes Health IT as opposed to paper medical records to retain people's health information (US Dept of Health, 2010). In addition, Health IT allows a secure exchange between healthcare providers and consumers in the management of healthcare information. It is hoped that Health IT will both improve patient care and our nation’s healthcare system. There are two classifications of electronic health record systems. First, products such as Microsoft Vault and Google Health, allow an individual pe...

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...urthermore, rural Americans have a much higher rate of obesity compared to the urban population. In fact, the obesity crisis in rural American has surfaced since 1980. Prior to 1980, the rural population had a much lower rate of obesity than the urban population (Tai-Seale and Chandler, 2003). In addition, if the baby boomers follow past life-cycle age related migration patterns to rural areas, 30 percent more adult age 55-75 will live in rural areas by 2020 (Cromartie and Nelson, 2009). The graph below illustrates the recent and projected nonmetro population change among 55-74 year olds in the Midwest. While data was available for all five U.S. regions, the researcher’s focused on the Midwest as this research was conducted in the Midwest (Source:USDA, Economic Research Service using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics).

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