What is EMR management? What are its benefits? Read on to learn everything you need to know about EMR management.
Medical records are a vital part of the healthcare system. However, there are many challenges in managing healthcare records.
For example, physical copies of records require significant storage space. Further, the records need updating and when appropriate, destroyed. This requires personnel and time.
In short, maintaining medical records is expensive. In contrast, significant savings and efficiencies can come from transitioning to EMR management.
Electronic medical record management has been slow to take off in comparison to other industries. One of the concerns relates to data security.
Electronic medical records fall under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Privacy breaches can lead to fines up to $1.5 million.
EMR management may seem daunting from an implementation perspective. Yet, it is the future of medical records. Take this opportunity to read all you need to know to get started.
EMR Management – Why?
There seems to be an almost endless list of reasons why you should be switching to EMR management. Here are some of the more fundamental reasons below.
1. Better Care
Waiting for medical records in the doctor’s surgery seems to be a normal part of visiting your doctor. Electronic records facilitate quicker access to important medical information.
That saves time and helps medical professionals make timely and appropriate medical decisions.
2. Saves Lives
In a medical emergency, it is vital to access medical information as quickly as possible. If your record system relies on traditional methods of requesting and transferring data, then it may be too late in a life-threatening situation.
This challenge is amplified if the patient is accessing care at a facility they have never been to before. However, EMR allows for speedy access and also the transference of vital medical information between healthcare providers.
3. Protects Against Loss
Physical medical records are vulnerable to damage. Electronic copies of data that are adequately backed up will preserve the data even during a natural disaster.
There is a risk of losing electronic data but when there are appropriate backup policies in place, it will minimize the long term risk of permanently losing data.
4. Cost Effective
To manually maintain medical records is expensive. Physical forms are outdated and need replacing. Medical records that are redundant and meet the criteria for disposal need to be physically removed.
This is time-consuming and requires active input from trained medical record personnel. In contrast, vast numbers of medical records can be controlled electronically and subject to certain automated processes that save personnel, time and money.
5. Protects Patients and Medical Personnel
EMR allows for better access data for patients who wish to make a claim against medical personnel. Traditionally, it can be difficult and time-consuming to access the correct records needed in order to make a case against a negligent doctor.
Not only does this advantage the patient but it helps medical personnel that are not guilty of negligence refute any unfounded claims. It is in the interests of everyone involved, including healthcare institutions to resolve any claims as quickly as possible.
6. Better Medical Invoices
When medical providers submit their invoices to insurers it seems there is a high denial rate. One reports indicated it was as high as 24%.
That means something, somewhere is failing in the collection and submission of medical data. Patients and medical personnel are having to go through additional administrative requirements to ensure the funds are provided to support needed medical care.
EMR can significantly help. Check out this article on how to prevent denied claims.
EMR Management – How?
This may seem like a mountain to climb but like all mountains, it begins with a few steps and direction. The important thing is to create a collaborative team that includes clinicians, IT personnel and project management.
Once you have your team you will need to configure your software in collaboration with a software provider. You may need to carry out a HIPAA risk assessment to make sure you have the correct security measure in place.
Software is followed by hardware. You will need to assess your hardware requirements. Give this careful thought and consider mapping out your clinical information workflows.
If clinicians need to log into multiple systems then clinical time with patients will be lost. Providing clinicians with tablets or laptops may save time but must also be balanced with practicality. Hiring external IT help to assess these needs may reap rewards in the long run.
You will need to create a checklist to ensure no vital data is lost. It is wise to assess how long it takes to transfer the records for a batch of patients and then calculate the average time.
You can use this calculation to work out how long it will take to digitize your records and in turn, how many people will need to be assigned to the project.
You should set a deadline and work to it. You may need to hire additional personnel on a temporary basis in order to meet your deadline.
This is your opportunity not only to make the transition from paper to electronic but also reduce the waste and unneeded steps within your workflow and healthcare processes.
Some may reason that this type of work can be done later on and that the most important thing is to get going. The reality is that it is far better to redesign those processes before implementation. For example, how data is collected for invoicing may need improvement.
Check out this helpful article on revenue cycle management.
EMR Management – Get Started
In this article, you have read all you need to know about EMR management to get you started. The benefits are clear and the direction has already been set by the government.
Follow the principles outlined in this article and you will avoid the mistakes of others. If you have questions, then please get in touch here.