Since 2012, medical practices across the country have been transitioning to electronic medical records (EMR). While EMR systems should standardize and simplify patient-record keeping and sharing, the wide variety of available programs and inconsistent interpretations of how the patient records should be kept and shared are creating headaches for physicians and patients alike.
Progress is inevitable. Even if you liked old paper records, everything in life and business is becoming digitized. The EMR mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) may have sped up the transition for many practices across the country, but practices would eventually modernize their record-keeping.
Benefits of EMH
EMH provide a wide range of benefits for physicians and patients including:
- Complete, accurate, and up-to-date patient information
- Rapid access to patient information for efficient care
- Secure method of sharing patient records
- Reduced medical errors for safer care and precise diagnosis
- Safer prescribing
- Legible, complete documentation
- Streamlined coding and billing
- Enhanced patient privacy protection
In addition, EMH can help you improve your productivity and efficiency, helping you meet your business goals. You should be able to reduce your costs by decreasing paperwork and the risk of duplicate testing.
An enhanced interface allows your practice to respond to patient record requests with little effort and run full reports to track requests and outgoing records. You can keep electronic release forms, ensuring that your patients’ records are only shared with designated requestors.
Common EMR pitfalls
Despite all the benefits of EMRs, the transition is not always straightforward. In addition to transferring patient records to your system, you and your staff need training to operate the system efficiently, and even with the best will in the world, there are always growing pains when you have to learn a new system and change “the way it’s always been done.”
Also, not all EMR systems are created equal. With hundreds of EMR systems to choose from, you need to be able to identify the right program to meet the needs of your practice. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find the program that delivers everything you need — without having to add on expensive “extras” or having to pay increasing premiums to add users.
Another issue that’s becoming apparent is inconsistency in the way requests for patient records are handled. A recent study from Yale University that included 83 different hospitals and practices revealed a variety of responses to patient record requests including request denial, inconsistent or prohibitive charging, and conflicting information given at the time of request compared to the records provided.
The first step to resolving your EMR issues is using a straightforward EMR system that is easy for you and your staff to use. Then, you need to ensure that everyone who uses the system has adequate training on how to use the system and on the regulations surrounding patient record requests. While investing the time in initial training may feel burdensome, especially when you need to see patients every day, but spending enough time in the beginning to educate yourself and your team will save you time, money, and frustration in the long-run.
ePaper Road, part of the Ferndale Road suite of practice management tools, is an easy-to-use and customizable electronic solutions that help you and your team keep compliant patient records while eliminating the need for your office to be involved in records request processing. ePaper Road is fully compliant with individual state laws as well as ACA rules, eliminating multiple requests from insurance companies.
If you want to know more about the benefits of how ePaper Road and Ferndale Road can help you save time on administrative tasks, contact us today.