Best Practices in Managing EHR/EMR and What Mistakes to Avoid

Vineet Agrawal

April 5, 2022

Electronic documentation like EHR helps make managing medical records a lot easier for practitioners. However, the issue is that you are dealing with highly sensitive information when you are dealing with patient records. Ensuring the safety of these records can be essential in ensuring that you can keep patient records safe while also getting the efficiency that you need from EHR. This article will take a closer look at EHR, so that you can better understand these best practices and any mistakes that you must avoid.

Best Practices of EHR

The first thing to start with here is to take a look at the best practices for using an EHR system. By using these best practices, you can avoid many different issues that can come up when using EHR. This section will take a closer look at many of these best practices.

Daily Backups

It’s crucial that you make sure that your organization is keeping up with daily backups of your data. This is something that you should talk to your IT team about. Do they have the resources/staff necessary to perform regular backups? These backups that are performed regularly should not only include full backups, but there should also be incremental backups performed. Incremental backups are backups that only will backup data that was recently updated since the last full backup.

 

It can also be a good idea for you to consider investing in a third-party organization that specializes in data storage and data backups so that this information can also be saved off-site. This will ensure that your data will be safe in cases of a natural disaster or some other event happening to your site. Even in these extreme moments, protecting patient data is essential. You just need to be sure that you only work with a reputable organization that has a good reputation for securing any data from any wrongdoers.

Ensure the Use of Virus/Malware Protection

You will also want to check with your IT team that they are using top-notch anti-virus and anti-malware tools to keep the data safe. These are tools that can be pretty essential in keeping patient data safe. You and your IT team should be sure to do your research to make sure that you are getting the best software for these purposes. The security of patient data is a top priority. Any tools or practices that can make this data more secure will be beneficial to your organization.

Make Sure That All Computers are Set to Lock After a Period of Inactivity

This is easily the easiest way to keep patient data safe. The computers, including laptops, should be set to lock after only a short period of inactivity. This will ensure that no one can just easily access any data. If you have laptops, these laptops should never be left unattended. If someone needs to leave the room with the laptop, the laptop should leave with them.

Make Sure That You’re Opening Patient Records Individually

You may think that you can be more efficient by having multiple records open at a time, but you should really only have one patient record open at a time. This will ensure that you are putting the right information into the right patient’s file. This is the best way to avoid mistakes. Fortunately, most EHR systems do not allow you to have multiple windows open at a time.

Common EHR Mistakes

Now that you understand some of the best practices for managing an EHR and EMR system, this section wants to help you see what common mistakes you need to avoid with these systems. Many of these mistakes can be extremely costly to your practice, both financially and for your reputation.

Cloning Patient Data

One of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks medical professionals need to deal with is data entry tasks like updating patient information. There are a lot of professionals that have decided to start cloning or copy/pasting patient information in the past notes into the most current notes. While this may seem like an efficient approach, this can also lead to problems later on. For instance, “note bloat” can occur with this approach. This means that the chart may have blocks of notes that are exactly the same, which can make them harder to read. This translates to things sometimes getting lost in all those blocks of texts, including relevant information that can impact the care of the patient. This can also lead to an inability to properly track the progress of the patient.

 

Not only can this create blocks of data, but if there are any mistakes in the notes, this can make the notes less accurate.

Improperly Setting Up and Managing EHR Systems

The biggest mistake people make is when they setup and manage their EHR. While other mistakes can be handled easily enough, this is a mistake that can really wreak havoc on your operations. It will affect all of your operations. EHR is just a tool, one that can and should be configured specifically to meet your organization’s needs. However, sometimes organizations just opt to change how they operate to match the EHR rather than adjusting the EHR to meet their needs. This can lead to a lot more mistakes in the system, making you less efficient.

 

Through working with your IT team, you can pick a tool and customize it so that it works for you.

Conclusion

The advice here can be essential in ensuring that you get the benefits of using an EHR system, while still ensuring that all of the patient data is as safe as possible. This can be especially important when it comes to working in mental health, but this is definitely a concern that all medical practices should have. By using this advice, you can get the help that you need to better manage EHR and EMR through using the best practices and knowing what the biggest mistakes are so that you can avoid them.

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