Enhancing Healthcare Quality in Hospitals through Electronic Health Records: A Systematic Review

Peter Gatiti, Eunice Ndirangu, Joseph Mwangi, Arnold Mwanzu, Terry Ramadhani

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Background: The evolution of information technology has continued to put pressure on healthcare systems to switch from manual to electronic systems. The electronic health record is a leading information technology system that has drawn considerable interest from governments and private health facilities. However, EHR implementation has proved to be a problematic endeavor, especially in developing countries.

Objective: This review sought to determine the influence of EHR implementation on healthcare quality in hospitals and identifying applicable lessons for EHR implementers in hospital settings.

Methods: Relevant literature was searched in the identified databases, including Scopus, PubMed, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Cochrane Library. Websites such as the World Health Organization and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence were searched for policies and guidelines. The study used several terms and their variations to create a search strategy, including electronic health records, hospitals and, healthcare quality. The literature search was constrained to the English language and studies published between 2010 and 2020. The study carried out a narrative synthesis of results from the included studies.

Results: Overall, the findings of the systematic review demonstrated that EHR has a significant positive influence on healthcare quality by enhancing patient safety and ensuring effective, efficient, timely, equitable, and patient-centered care. Some of the EHR functionalities that facilitate quality healthcare include, practice management, communication, documentation or data entry, and medication management, decision support functionality, computerized drug prescription, electronic nursing documentation, and electronic management records. EHR implementation is faced with several challenges, which can be grouped into institutional side factors, human resource factors, technological factors, and ethical issues.

Conclusion: We established a significant effect of EHR implementation on several healthcare quality indicators, namely patient safety, effective care, efficient care, timely care, equitable and patient-centered care. EHR implementation is faced with challenges emanating from the healthcare institutions, healthcare professionals, technology, and ethical issues. There is a need to devise an effective mechanism that would minimize the challenges that prevent successful EHR implementation in hospitals.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

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