Healthcare providers are increasingly operating within a paperless environment, with many clinics, hospitals, and surgeries scanning paper-based medical records into an electronic medical records (EMR) system. Digitizing medical records offer enormous benefits to medical practitioners and patients alike, so if you haven’t considered digitizing your medical records, here are five reasons why you should.
A patient’s medical records are sensitive information that must remain confidentially stored. In the past, this has meant medical practices have had to keep paper records under lock and key with strict limits on who can access them.
There are several security benefits of digitizing medical records using an electrical management system hosted on the cloud. Firstly, the patient has peace of mind that their personal medical history is being stored on a fully secure encrypted system that can only be decrypted through a unique login ID, access to which can be overseen by the practice manager.
In addition, by being able to update the system directly while the patient is with the doctor, the risk of records being lost or misplaced is meanwhile They will also be able to preserve the updates by locking them and not allowing any future edits or duplication. Finally, the cloud-based server being hosted offsite in a data centre removes any risk of records being lost to onsite fire or floods.
2. Accuracy and Legibility
Some of the oldest jokes in the book concern the famed inability of doctors to write legibly. While some of those cracks may be a little far removed from reality for some, there is an element of truth that can make them difficult to read or fully understand.
Using digitized medical records ensures that all notes are standardized, have an easy-to-read font, and use standardized terminology across the board. This means that there will be uniformity and consistency across the patient’s records, which will benefit the level of care that patients will receive, mainly where treatment is being administered by more than one location or clinician.
Medical professionals will benefit by having complete confidence in understanding the patient’s entire medical history which treatments and prescriptions they have had in the past or are currently undergoing. This will eliminate the risk of mistakes being made and open doctors up to the possibility of litigation for malpractice.
3. Access and Storage
Put quite simply; digital space is an awful lot cheaper than real estate. The amount of physical storage space required to store an individual patient’s physical medical records may be small but quickly builds up over time. Multiply that across thousands of patients, and the space required to store everything can quickly become costly.
It is also estimated that employees in a traditional office setting waste up to six-man hours per week searching for documents. In a medical environment where there is high turnover in paper documents, this is significantly increased. Digitizing medical records by uploading them onto an EMR system substantially reduces the time lost to searching for documents. The risk of a patient’s records being misfiled is also removed.
Instead, doctors and support staff alike can access a patient’s records from their desk within the same building and across different healthcare settings. A consultant at a hospital will have the same information at their fingertips as a patient’s regular doctor at their local surgery.
The two main benefits of digitizing medical records can be measured across two metrics. The first is financial, and the second is time efficiencies. While the initial investment in an EMR system can be costly, the savings realized over a short period will ensure that the system will soon have paid for itself many times over.
Either downsizing premises will realize financial savings due to the reduced space required for records storage or potentially renting the saved space out to other professionals within the healthcare space to set up a treatment centre of their own. Digitizing medical records will also allow clinics to save money on personnel costs with fewer person-hours required to collate, store and search for documents.
Those reduced man-hours spent filing and hunting for records can also be re-directed towards more productive efforts. The front-desk staff has more time to dedicate to answering patient queries, while practitioners’ time can be spent dedicated to seeing a more significant number of patients.
5. Patient Experience
The main reason people go into healthcare is ultimate to care for their patients. By digitizing medical records, professionals within the healthcare world will be providing their patients with an improved experience and greater reassurance that they are at the forefront of their clinic’s thinking.
Patients will be able to visit their doctor confident in the knowledge that the records in front of their physician will be accurate, up-to-date, and have been stored securely. They can be reassured that their papers will not have been tampered with or compromised confidentiality.
Additional benefits that the patient might access are increased services at their local clinic or practice, a more pleasing aesthetic experience without reams of paper records cluttering up the surgery, and, most importantly, greater access to medical expertise when they need it.
With doctors being able to access their patient’s records at the click of a button in front of them, patients will receive a more significant, more consistent, and dedicated level of care during appointments, whether with their GP, at a clinic, or during a hospital visit with a consultant or specialist.
Digitize Your Medical Records Now
These are just five reasons for deciding to invest in an EMR system. You will increase security, reduce costs, save time, improve the accuracy of your records, and provide your patients with a better and more consistent experience. By digitizing medical records, you are taking steps towards adding to your HIPAA compliance best practice.