Paper vs. Electronic Paperless System

Excessive paper usage without efforts to recycle or reduce consumption is contributing to budgetary cost for healthcare organizations. By reducing the amount of paper used per day, hospitals can reduce the impact of paper waste in our environment. Paper consumption cost hospitals in storage and removal of used paper. Paper vs. Electronic Paperless System Close to 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the United States. In 2009, Americans generated about 243 million tons of trash, recycled, and composed 82 million tons (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

Office type papers are the second largest contribution to paper waste. Businesses such as healthcare organizations contribute to the majority of our paper consumption. Recycled paper supplies more than 37% of the raw materials used to make new paper products in the United States (EPA). Unfortunately, not all of the paper consumed is recycled. To reduce the amount of paper consumed by healthcare organizations, hospitals should elect to use an electronic paperless system for admission forms, billing, and medical records. pic] There are incentives for ditching the paper. In 2009, President Obama put into place what is known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery. org).

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This Act was designed to generate jobs, however included is a monetary incentive that would be awarded to healthcare providers who install Electronic Health Records Systems. Some argue that there are disadvantages to electronic paperless systems such as Electronic Health Records Systems or EHR’s. Electronic Health Records Systems may not be afe; meaning that if it’s on a computer system it can be seen by persons who do not have a reason for viewing or authority to view. The reality of sensitive medical information traveling in cyberspace strikes fear in the hearts of patients and health care providers (Daniel C. Silverman MD. MPA). Many celebrities have found this statement to be true. George Clooney found that during his hospital stay for a recent automobile accident; his medical records were viewed countless times by healthcare professions. One healthcare professional alerted the media of to Mr.

Clooney’s injury including information that is only contained in one’s medical records. Training healthcare professionals to use an EHR system can be costly and time consuming. Some healthcare organizations question whether electing to transition to an Electronic Health Records System is cost effective. Many obstacles such as new equipment and training may not be possible budget wise. Countless hours dedicated to training healthcare professionals may take away valuable hours for quality patient care. Others argue that there are advantages to Electronic Health Records Systems.

Physicians and healthcare providers could spend more time provided quality care and less time charting on a paper medical records. Healthcare providers and their patients can benefit from real time electronic health records. Physicians would have the ability to link current patient data with previous patient data or health history.


http://www. epa. gov/osw/conserve/rrr/recycle. htm July 26, 2011 http://www. recovery. gov/About/Pages/The_Act. aspx Silverman, D. C. (1998, May-June). The electronic medical record system: health care marvel or morass? (Surfing the Information Technology Wave).

Physician Executive, 24(3), 26+. Retrieved from http://go. galegroup. com. proxy. davenport. edu/ps/i. do? &id=GALE%7CA102090505&v=2. 1&u=lom_davenportc&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w Charters, Lynda. “Electronic medical records work for large, small practices: potential benefits include more physician time, reduced expenses, improved collections. (Applying technology). ” Ophthalmology Times 1 Apr. 2003: 69. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Nov. 2011. Document URL http://go. galegroup. com. proxy. davenport. edu/ps/i. do? &id=GALE%7CA99272280&v=2. 1&u=lom_davenportc&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w

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