Reasons Why EMRs Are Better Than Paper Records
How information is collected, stored and organised at various businesses, including medical practices, has changed over time with the advent of technology. It has been widespread for medical practices, hospitals and clinics to use a paper record system when collecting, filing and storing crucial patient history. The patient’s file is a vital piece of information for the doctor as it allows him or her to create holistic healthcare plans. However, there are many failings of the paper medical record. The cons of the paper medical record pave the way for doctors to switch from paper to electronic medical records.
Paper vs Electronic Medical Records
What are they?
Paper medical records consist of paper files that contain the details of patient history, allergies and previous health information of an individual. As denoted by the term, the data is stored on paper in a file.
On the other hand, electronic medical records is an official health document which is stored on smart devices like tablets and smartphones. The medical record contains all relevant patient information which is crucial for diagnosis and health plans.
Why should you switch?
There are several cons of paper medical records which outweigh the initial factors, which are daunting for practices when they are initially considering the switch. However, paper documents vs electronic documents can be easily solved by considering what benefits emrs offer:
- Time Factors:
Electronic medical records are faster than paper medical records. Getting the hang of the software is not an arduous process since many of us are highly familiar with technology these days. So your staff does not need to undergo extensive training to understand how to use the software.
The initial transition may be daunting because of unfamiliar territory, but once you power through it, the practice is bound to run much more efficiently. Electronic medical records enable doctors to store information much more quickly during sessions if they use appropriate tech features like voice to text recorders.
In addition, EMRs allow for quicker retrieval of lab results and other imaging because everything is integrated to work efficiently together. Electronic medical records also come with ICD ready coding and billing features such as electronic medical invoicing, which makes the process of billing and filling quick and seamless as well. Lastly, you can cut down on human errors, which slow down workflow like files being misplaced and poor handwriting on paper files.
- Authorized Access Only:
An electronic medical records system helps address another major problem with paper medical records; access. Paper medical records can be accessed by anyone. If someone leaves a file out instead of putting it back in the cabinet and locking it, anyone can pick it up and peruse the contents. In some cases, information can be misfiled, which is extremely damaging for the patient. You can easily leave a file out over the course of a busy day because there are hundreds of things to get through—an electronic medical record controls who can access patient information and when they can do it.
There are only some people who can log onto the software, and usually, software which deals with sensitive data tends to log out after several minutes of inactivity. This prevents the wrong people from accessing information. It also addresses the issue of tampering, whereby sometimes paper records can be slightly altered by removing papers from reports or replacing real information with substitute copies. This can be extremely problematic, which brings us to our next point.
- EMRs are Encrypted:
Information is Encrypted. Electronic medical records come with the perk of security. As established, paper records can be easily accessed by anyone. They can peruse it, make copies, leak information or transcribe details. This major problem does not persist with electronic medical records because EMRs tend to be highly protected by encryption methods, which keep unauthorized personnel from accessing patient information. In addition, the software is often HIPAA compliant, which ensures that patient confidentiality is maintained.
This may be a surprising one. However, practices must think long-term. Electronic software may cost a pretty penny to obtain and maintain, but they also allow you to save up money in other areas. EMRs speed up workflows and cut down on operational costs.
- Audit Trails:
This one is another feather in the cap for security. Electronic medical records enhance the security of medical practices because they allow you to do audit trails. You can track who last accessed a patient’s record, who edited it and whether the access to the record was by authorized personnel. If you see that someone unauthorized has access to the medical records, you have a semblance of control in the situation because you can address the problem, which isn’t possible with a paper record