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Cultural Assessment of Native Americans

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Integrating Electronic Health Records

The mandate for electronic health records (EHR) was issued 8 years ago and has been in the makings ever since. On April 27, 2004, President Bush issued Executive Order (EO) 13335 " To promote leadership for the development and nationwide implantation of an interoperable health information technology infrastructure to improve the quality and efficiency of health care," establishing a position for a National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (IT) within the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The ONC-Coordinated Federal Health Information Technology Strategic Plan (the Plan) sets forth a number of goals, objectives, and strategies that, for the first time, bring together all federal efforts in health IT in a coordinated fashion. It, will guide the advancement of health IT throughout the federal government for the next five years. The Government as a whole has worked together to establish the foundation for successful health IT, of which will move the nation towards an interoperable health IT architecture. This will guide interoperability, adaptation, and collaborative governance for the exchange of electronic health information and ensuring privacy and security of health information, (Dept. of Health & Human Services, et al 2008).

The Plan's goals are focused on both the Patient and Population health. The Patient-focused goal is to allow the transformation to higher quality, more cost-efficient, patient-focused health care through electronic health information access and used by care providers, and by patients and their designees. The goal for population health is to enable the appropriate, authorized, and timely access and the use of electronic health information to benefit public health, biomedical research, quality improvement, and emergency preparedness. Each of the goals has objectives that need to be met to help everyone adapt to the new EHR. The idea is that by using Health IT to transform health and care by allowing individuals to communicate with their care providers and would eventually allow a person's health care information to be processed across the Nation (Dept. of Health & Human Services, et al 2008).

It is very important to get away from paper charting and to get all facilities using an EHR in order to know all information about their patients of which would in return reduce errors made during their care. With EHR having the capability for all patient information to be saved, accessed, and updated, medical errors would be reduced tremendously. According to the president the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), "Medical error reduction is fundamentally an information problem. The solution to reducing the number of medical records resides in developing mechanisms for collecting, analyzing, and applying existing information. If we are going to make significant strides in enhancing patient safety, we must think in terms of the information we need to obtain, create, and disseminate" (O'Leary, 2001). The American Medical Informatics Association support that errors can be prevented by computer systems that provide electronic patient records, physician order entry,



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