Cooperative Collaboration Amongst Healthcare Institutions Towards Central Access to Medical with Patients Records: Striving for Quality Care Worldwide

Cooperative Collaboration Amongst Healthcare Institutions Towards Central Access to Medical with Patients Records: Striving for Quality Care Worldwide

Ngoako Solomon Marutha (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0043-9.ch004

Abstract

This chapter investigates the extent to which healthcare facilities may cooperate to collaborate with an intention to share management of and access to patients' medical histories for quality healthcare service across their facilities. This study used a literature review, the author's experience, and an observational study in the healthcare institutions to support and recommend his view of medical records management and access collaboration. The study discovered that there is still a lack of collaborative access and management of medical records in healthcare institutions. This may affect the healthcare service negatively and the health of the patients directly. The study recommended a collaborative framework that healthcare institutions may apply, whether national, continental or international, to ensure that the medical or health history of patients is always accessible to healthcare practitioners wherever the patients find themselves seeking healthcare service anywhere and at any time.
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Introduction

Access to medical records has become a major concern for healthcare institutions. Paying attention to patients’ records ownership than patients’ healthcare, is more of a concern with most healthcare institutions, since they regard less of the institutions posing challenges particularly to patients’ healthcare. “Decision-making in the healthcare industry among clinicians and managers requires an awareness of the ever-changing landscape of healthcare in order to ensure quality care and services to patients” (Cantiello, Kitsantas, Moncada, & Abdul, 2016). It is imperative that healthcare institutions should refocus their attention on the quality of patients’ healthcare than on the records and information ownership. Looking at the current supersonic population growth and high geographical movements of people as patients, cooperative collaboration becomes important. This would help to create, manage and share medical records between healthcare institutions, to improve the quality of healthcare for patients. A lack of access to medical records could result from non-cooperative collaboration of medical officers, thus resulting in negative results to patients’ healthcare than positive ones. This is because “shared care concepts such as managed care and continuity of care are based on extended communication and cooperation between different health professionals or between them and the patient respectively” (Blobel & Pharow, 2007).

Health care services are delivered across a spectrum of providers and settings of care, including physician offices, pharmacies, labs, imaging facilities, hospitals and health centers. Providers’ ability to electronically exchange patient information and share information with patients is critical to improving the quality of care delivery (American Hospital Association 2018).

Cooperative collaboration amongst healthcare institutions or facilities is critical to ensure central access to medical records by all facilities, since together they are striving for the quality of patients’ care. The central point is that whether healthcare providers belong to different organisations, they serve the same patients or people every day regardless of these patients’ nationalities or home countries. Patients move from one healthcare facility to another on different days or at different times for similar, related or different ill-health problems. However, it is also paramount that healthcare providers’ access information about patients’ previous illnesses, treatments, prescriptions or medications used, their diagnosis and many other medical activities that were discharged in trying to help patients with their past health-related problems. In the current situation, experience tells that the sharing of patients’ histories amongst healthcare facilities is still considered a dream for the future. This is because healthcare facilities, both government and private, are still enjoying the curtesy of ownership of patients’ histories in piecemeal while working in silos. The medical histories of patients are lacking as the researcher consulted one facility after another. These facilities are not working together or sharing information about similar patients. For instance, healthcare providers are not able to access the records of medical histories of a patient who was admitted or treated at Tshwane Hospital the day before and is now admitted at Polokwane Hospital, or patient admitted in hospital at Ghana previously is unable to access their patients records next moment when receiving healthcare service in another hospital or clinic at Canada in the United states of America.

In recent years, hospitals and health systems have significantly expanded providers’ ability to share and receive patient information from a variety of care sources, both inside their own hospital/health system and with unaffiliated hospitals, health systems or other care settings. However, barriers, such as a lack of interoperability, continue to prevent universal sharing and effective use of information (American Hospital Association 2018).

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