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Are Your Ready to Go All Digital for Your Medical Practice?

October 13, 2015
Electronic_vs_paper-1When owning your own medical practice and operating in the health care industry, you likely have thousands of medical documentations to keep track of, and in general, you have two options — paper or electronic records. Not only is it important that electronic files be maintained for medical documentation compliance, but it also leads to better patient care, which should be your ultimate goal. If you have yet to make the switch to digital records, you should carefully consider the benefits. 

From a medical practice aspect, the electronic medicsal documentation benefits include:

  • Remote access to patient data
  • Easy access to critical lab results
  • Red flags provided for potential medication errors
  • Increase in preventative care reminders for patients
  • Facilitation of effective communication between health care personnel and patients

Did you know in 2009 that $787 billion was invested into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? These funds were used to convert the healt hcare industry from its traditional paper file records to digital files. There are funds available to help your medical practice make the switch, and when you do, make sure you follow these simple tips for making the transition as smooth as possible. 

Get Your Finances In Order

It’s going to cost money to make the switch to electronic health records (EHRs). Still yet, though, funding is available and you must make sure you budget it well in advance. The average electronic health record (EHR) system will likely cost anywhere from $15k to $70k. You’ll need to have a specialist determine your exact needs before investing in a system. After all, you don’t want to invest too little or too much only to have the system not fully meet your needs. As part of the budgeting process, a specialist will need to look at your current technology, including current hardware. You may need to upgrade this equipment to be compatible with the soon-to-be installed digital record system.

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Develop a Workflow Transition Plan

Unless you take the time to plan ahead, you’re going to endure downtime during the switch to digital records. Fortunately, though, with proper planning comes the ability to make the switch while keeping your workflow productive and smooth. As part of this workflow transition plan, you’ll need to consider the installation of new hardware, the time it takes to upload existing data, and the time aspect of collecting and uploading new data. If possible, hardware installation should take place during closed business hours. If you don’t have any closed business hours, a specialist will need to be brought in to create a transition plan that accommodates your operational processes. 

Staff Members Need thorough Training

Lastly, to ensure the transition process goes as smoothly as possible, your staff members will need to be trained ahead of time. You can’t roll out a new system with no training and expect your staff to accurately enter, store, and analyze data. This can lead to major headaches within your coding department, which leads to slow insurance claims, and even worse, poor patient care. 

No matter how large or small your medical practice may be, switching to all digital records is going to alter your operational practices on a permanent basis. Generally, this alteration will be a positive one in that it improves patient care by boosting productivity and providing a 360-degree view of the entire patient. electronic records are also easy to share between appropriate health care providers, which broadens the view even more, allowing the entire patient to be treated according to practices that complement one another.


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