Exploring eHealth Systems

Types of data and information captured in the different eHealth systems utilized in healthcare

Health informatics makes the coordination and collaboration of patient data and information possible. It encompasses a wide range of purposes from administrative to healthcare delivery, and is an essential component of healthcare renewal (eHealth, 2010). Within the eHealth umbrella is nursing informatics. The CNA defines nursing informatics “as the practice and science of integrating nursing information and knowledge with technology to manage and integrate health information” (Nursing informatics, 2019). Several technologies have been developed to aid in communication and delivery of healthcare.

EHR – Electronic Health Record. The building block of all these applications. Simply put, the EHR is a lifetime record of your health history. The information in your EHR can be accessed by anyone on your healthcare team in real time. What you can expect to find in your EHR may include: medical history, allergy information, contact information, appointments, results (lab, diagnostic, etc), infection control, consultations, reports from healthcare team, past hospital/emergency visits, treatment plans, diagnoses, etc (What’s an EHR?, 2019). Here at STEGH we use Power Chart. In addition to the above mentioned data, we also use this program to administer medication and enter order sets.

PACS – Picture archiving and communication system. This is a medical imaging storing and transmitting technology. Data utilized here would be images such as x-rays, nuclear medicine images, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, mammograms etc. May also include non image documents such as results of image test. These images and results can be accessed by anyone authorized on the healthcare team. We would see this type of system in a hospital setting, clinic, or doctors office. The information from these images are used to diagnose and implement treatment plans.

CPOE – computerized physician order entry. An electronic system for entering physician orders. Before this technology was developed nurses would transcribe verbal orders from physicians resulting in a high chance or error. These systems have been proven highly effective in reducing errors due to the built in safety guards, organization of information, and quick access. Order types consists of medications, treatments, communication orders, wound care orders, diet orders etc. Here at STEGH, our CPOE is integrated into our EHR which is all located in Power Chart as mentioned above. I think this program is beneficial because we have access to all our patients information, and the ability to administer medication, enter orders, check test results etc all in one place. For me personally at STEGH, we have a great group of doctors who put a lot of trust in us as nurses, and we are able to enter many of the orders ourselves, with verbal direction of course. The orders are what nurses use to guide patient centered care.

Telehealth – utilizing technology to connect patients with their healthcare team when they are not located in the same area, or able to attend the healthcare facility. Can be done over the telephone, or by video conferencing. This is beneficial to the patient by helping them save on travel costs, greater access to specialists, reduce barriers to access, and shorten wait times. Another part of telehealth is telehealth Ontario. By calling a 1-800 number you are connected with a Registered Nurse to get general health information, or health advice. It is free, completely confidential, and open 24/7. undefined

Patient Portal – secure, online websites that allow patients access to personal health information. Patients can view information such as recent visits, discharge summaries, medications, immunizations, and lab results. Some may allow access to prescription refills, communication with your doctor, schedule non-emergency appointments, make payments, download and complete forms, request referrals, and check benefits (What is a…, 2017).

Handheld – handheld technology such as phone, or iPad/tablet. Mobility is a central feature to healthcare delivery. This technology aides physicians to better communicate and collaborate with the team as their job requires them to move between clinical areas, patients, locations, etc. These devices would also house the same information of the electronic or paper chart, and be accessible to anyone authorized. The benefit of this is ease of access, and time saved. The physician will have immediate access to patient information at the bedside and not have to go in search of a computer or paper chart.


EHealth. (2010, August 09). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-care-system/ehealth.html

Nursing Informatics. (2019). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.cna-aiic.ca/en/nursing-practice/the-practice-of-nursing/nursing-informatics

What’s an EHR? (2019). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.ehealthontario.on.ca/en/ehrs-explained

What’s an EHR? (2019). Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.ehealthontario.on.ca/en/ehrs-explained

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