From a hospital administrator’s perspective, the introduction of an electronic medical records (EMR) system may seem daunting. In fact, that’s one of the reasons the Federal Government stepped in to provide grant money to assist with this conversion.
HITECH mandated that hospitals must provide evidence of EMR system conversion for 80% of patients in order to receive further grant funding.
As the adoption of electronic medical records continues, it is important that healthcare providers convert to digital records management. This will be a benefit for both the patient and the healthcare provider.
Here are some of the advantages of converting to electronic medical records from several perspectives:
Benefits of EMR to the Patient:
- The transfer of medical records between offices is less time-consuming and much more efficient.
- Hospital stays are reduced with more efficient processes and automatic routing of medical information.
- Fewer mistakes are made that could affect patient care since patient information can be easily accessed and stored from any department, hospital, or practice.
Benefits of EMR to the Healthcare Provider:
- Processing medical records electronically allows businesses to move faster and function more efficiently, reducing administrative costs.
- Storing patient records electronically is significantly less expensive than storing and securing records onsite or utilizing an offsite medical storage facility.
- Immediate access to patient information reduces the opportunity for medical errors, minimizing the chance of affecting patient care.
- Increased compliance to HIPAA, FACTA, HITECH, and other state and local laws and regulations.
Unfortunately, some healthcare providers are not adopting this technology as quickly as others, and this can have negative implications. Resisting conversion to electronic medical records may reduce the healthcare provider’s credibility from the consumer’s viewpoint.
How a Healthcare Provider Can Use EMRs to Increase Consumer Confidence
The modern physician has instant access to all of the patient’s medical details using a computer or tablet. In comparison, the physician that is writing notes on a paper chart may appear outdated to a younger demographic.
What steps can be taken to update the healthcare provider’s office technology and avoid a loss of consumer confidence?
Train Healthcare Provider Support Staff to Scan and Shred Medical Records
Office support staff may be able to help scan and shred documents which will require time and money. FACTA compliance requires that all office support staff have ongoing training to manage the document destruction.
Once the office support staff is trained in proper document destruction, the process of document scanning and destruction can be very lengthy and could lower the quality of other work if not properly managed. This could lead to critical mistakes in other areas of the healthcare provider’s practice.
Hire a Professional Service to Scan and Shred Documents
In addition to security, professionals ensure HIPAA and FACTA compliance when converting to an EMR system. Contracting with professionals is also more efficient and cost-effective than training support staff in document scanning and medical record disposal.