The average primary care physician only spends 30 to 40 hours each week interacting directly with patients due to a high volume of administrative duties. Each patient visit results in approximately 10 to 13 pieces of paperwork, which detracts from the amount of time doctors can spend on direct patient care. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) reduce redundancy in medical records processing, provide fast and accurate record transmission, and reduce the administrative burden on small and large medical practices alike.
Cost Effectiveness of EMR
According to the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL), switching to EMRs would result in annual savings of $44 billion across the medical profession. Not only do EMRs save time for doctors, but they reduce the need for transcription services, chart rooms and record clerks as well. While there are initial costs when switching over to an EMR system, those costs decrease over time as electronic records require less man power and physical storage than traditional paper records.
In addition to the logistical benefits, EMR adoption may prevent practices from facing Medicare reimbursement penalties. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave healthcare providers and hospitals a 2015 deadline to engage in “meaningful use” of medical records. Those facilities and providers that do not adopt EMR technology risk losing a portion of their medical reimbursements.
A Harris Interactive Poll in 2006 found that 55 percent of adults believed that the use of EMRs would reduce the amount of medical errors. Another 60 percent believed that EMRs would lower their healthcare costs. These numbers demonstrate the faith that most patients place in electronic record keeping. In order to keep up with public expectations, healthcare providers are increasingly steered towards adopting EMR technology. One of the key reasons why EMR systems are so important to patients is that they come with patient portals that allow patients to access their medical records, make appointments online, submit prescription refill requests and even send confidential messages to their providers.
EMR Offers Increased Security
While electronic record storage systems come with security risks, they are generally far more secure than their paper counterparts. Proper security systems and controls can minimize the risk of unauthorized access to an electronic storage system. A medical records management company can provide secure medical records processing that protects patient confidentiality and prevents security breaches. Paper records are more vulnerable due to human error, break ins and physical damage. Facilities that only keep one copy of paper records run the risk of losing vital patient records permanently.
Medical Record Accuracy
Paper medical records are often difficult to understand due to illegible writing. Important information can be lost or misrepresented due to the single stroke of a pen. Paper records are also limited in space, making it difficult for healthcare providers to include all the relevant information available in a patient’s record. Electronic records are easy to read and offer plenty of space for detailed record keeping.
Health Records Accessibility
Paper records are not always readily accessible to patients or healthcare providers. It is common for record requests to be processed through a large warehouse where they are then mailed or scanned and sent to the provider, who then passes the records on to the patient. Not only is this process cumbersome and expensive, but it leaves significant room for human error as well. The use of electronic medical records allows healthcare professionals to access patient information immediately. This improves treatment times and makes it easier to transmit records to patients and other relevant providers.
Perhaps the most important benefit of EMR adoption is improved patient safety. The improved legibility of clinical records is not only convenient for healthcare providers but it can mean the difference between proper treatment and medical error as well. Electronic records also issue important reminders about tests or other medical services that are overdue. Physicians can also access electronic summary lists of diagnoses, patient allergies and past surgeries for immediate, efficient care. One electronic health record system that contained a disease management module actually lowered mortality rates among patients.
Because EMRs improve the overall quality and accessibility of the information available to healthcare providers, providers are able to give better quality care to patients. Quality reports are significantly easier to make with EMR technology than with traditional paper charts. A records management company can generate data for quality reports almost instantly.
A medical records management company can improve the efficiency of a healthcare provider’s office by reducing the manpower required for record management and help increase the overall quality of care patients receive. From timely alerts about procedures to legible notes that can be shared instantly from one provider to another, electronic records are a crucial component of healthcare reform. Photo-Stat is able to assist you with all of your electronic medical records needs, contact us today!