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The Changing World of Health Care and Medical Records
The affordability of healthcare is a topic on everyone’s mind these days. Amidst sweeping changes to how healthcare is provided, as technology continues to evolve and improve so does the likelihood of it being used to manage patient care. Since 2009, when The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) was implemented, healthcare providers have been driven by incentives to convert to electronic health records. But as the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act is officially set to move forward in 2013, medical practices will need to take a closer look at how they plan to convert their paper patient records.
Evolution Of Electronic Medical Records
Over the past several years, systems used for managing electronic patient records have steadily improved. Current centralized databases for storing and managing health records allow for better retention tracking and auditing of electronic patient charts, thus facilitating more efficient HIPAA compliance. These EMR systems ultimately lead to better overall coordination of care for patients.
Benefits Of Electronic Patient Records
In addition to facilitating improved patient care, an EMR can help ensure better protection and security of patient heath information. Unlike paper records which are susceptible to fire, flooding and theft and misplacement, electronic records can be encrypted, thus providing a more thorough means of safeguarding patient protected health information (PHI). Additionally, within an EMR, user rights can be assigned to restrict individual and group access. And beyond improved security, electronic patient records also provide for:
- efficient sharing of medical histories
- process improvement
- improved collaboration
- better coordination of care
- improved testing and diagnostics
For example, a recent study involving nearly 170,000 patients with diabetes found that electronic health records (EHR) reduced A1c levels and LDL cholesterol in patients with the highest levels, indicating better monitoring and treatment. This suggests that EHR reduced unnecessary testing in the study patients and led to better compliance to existing medication. In short, it looks promising that electronic health records could lead to better care in future.
Outsourcing For Proper Implementation
If your practice hasn’t yet finalized an EMR system, it’s not too late. While the process of scanning paper patient records into EMR requires considerable planning, an outsourced document scanning solution allows for an accurate and cost effective conversion while minimizing disruptions to your healthcare operation. The time it takes to scan a chart and attach the record to a patient name within a database can represent a considerable amount of time. In-house labor costs associated with hundreds or thousands of patient charts can quickly add up. This doesn’t factor in additional overhead expenses associated with necessary equipment investments, as well as cost overruns associated with inaccurate image capture and data merging. A professional document scanning solution ensures an expedited conversion while providing the following benefits:
- HIPAA compliance expertise
- expert knowledge of EMR systems
- experience in imaging workflow
- post conversion disposal of charts
- data protection and digital information storage solutions
Records Management Center provides fully HIPAA compliant medical records scanning services for healthcare providers through Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. To find out more, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on the page.