The patients' complete medical treatments and the clinical care offered are documented and stored legally, and such a document is known as the medical record. The patients' medical records were prepared through paper charts and managed manually in older days by storing them in office filing cabinets.
The recent advancement in technology has altered how these medical records management system functions. In recent days, these physical records have been stored using digital tools and get stored in the form of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) by most physicians and healthcare providers. The patient information is mounting up with the advanced analytical tools and diagnostics.
With the existing ethical and legal obligations, medical professionals are expected to protect patient information adequately and efficiently manage the medical records. Especially after the passing of HIPAA, protection of patient privacy has to be strictly followed as per the federal guidelines by the medical providers. The provider avoids paying costly fines as errors and breaches in patient data can be avoided.
What are EMRs and EHRs?
Both are digital tools used for hospital record management. EMRs are Electronic Medical Records used in closed billing systems within a single provider's practice. EHRs are Electronic Health Records used in the open billing system and are comparatively exhaustive and allow the patients to use them in various HealthCare offices. EMRs restrict the usage to a particular practice, whereas the EHRs can be transferred to more than one practice.
Medical Records Management - Life Saving Key in Healthcare Industry
There are certain managerial activities and protocols which are in control of managing sensitive patient information. The system of such procedures is referred to as medical records management. The instant a patient visits the hospital, the medical record is created and the same needs to be carefully stored and appropriately maintained. After the retention period, until they are secured, it is essential to destroy the record obliging a specific set of complicated rules, keeping the patient's privacy in mind.
Using electronic health records mainly enhances the safety of the patient data and allows to streamline the hospital record management system efficiently. This way, you could avoid potential danger to patient life through severe medication errors, a noticeable lapse in treatment and missed diagnoses.
Benefits Of Streamlined Health Records Management System:
1.Boosts Record Tracking and Location– By streamlining the hospital record management, it moderately boosts the health record location and tracking. It works well even for those health records which are seldom used.
2.Preserving Critical Data– By seamlessly managing the medical records, the critical and historical data about the healthcare organization is carefully preserved when struck by a natural disaster or for legal purposes.
3.Simplifies the Transfer of Information – In transferring important information within several organizations, efficient hospital record management benefits both the physicians and patients. On-time access to information is available, avoiding double work.
4.Minimizes the Mistakes– A proper records management system creates better visibility, thereby reasonably minimizing the mistakes and providing patient safety. By doing so, the patient's confidence in the treatment plans increases adequately.
5.Reduces the Operational Costs– From the productivity point of view, a well-maintained health record management system indeed reduced the operating cost considering the lesser physical storage requirement.
6.Enhances Staff Efficiency– Electronic medical record management relieves the staff burden. It makes the staff more productive by avoiding the strenuous tasks of paper filing, storing, and retrieving them without delay when specific information is required.
Significant Risks Involved in Failure to Manage the Medical Records:
Life-Threatening– In case of saving a life or an emergency medical procedure, not having immediate access to vital health information due to unmanaged health records of the patient could be life-threatening.
Legal Threat– When the healthcare organization fails to maintain a proper health record management system, there are higher chances of posing a legal threat to their practice as precious lives and health is at stake.
Affect the Practice's Value– Unmanaged health records stress out the staff and consumes more time as it creates a constant struggle to find vital patient information. It might create an impression of an absence of proper structure and policy among the patients, affecting the practice's value immediately.
Increased Costs– Lack of proper record management could result in minimal productivity. It could also delay the carrying out of required tasks and mainly leads to billing errors. Also, physically storing the records requires more space which could increase the costs for the practice straining the revenue cycle.
Incompetent Access to Data– There is no point in creating several backups of vital data in multiple locations. It is tedious and creates unnecessary costs for converting the health records from the old formats that had adhered to technology and had become outdated.
Prospects Of Medical Record Management:
The technological advances have skyrocketed in the medical and healthcare sectors creating a dire need for a sophisticated approach for managing medical records. Unmanaged medical records result in data breaches which put both providers and patients at risk.
The good news is that a proactive procedure of security documentation and investment in extensive medical records management allows the providers to enjoy compliance and steer clear of expensive penalties and litigation. Adopting these dynamic steps, healthcare providers and consumers can remarkably protect themselves.