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5 Ways Paper Files Hurt Your Medical Practice

by K Logan | Jul 14, 2016

managing patient records electronicallyIn the healthcare industry, record keeping and documentation is essential for providing treatment. When these records are managed on paper, limitations present themselves.Keeping records isn’t the problem, paper is. These limits can create tangible barriers to ensuring quality care. 

The limitations of paper can create tangible barriers to ensuring quality care and negatively impact the patient's experience. 

Here are 5 ways that can happen:

Missing or inaccurate files. Mistakes happen with paper files, and they happen often. An x-ray might wind up in the wrong file, information might be misread when input into the computer or the doctor’s write up might just go missing. When information is lost, misplaced or inaccurate, it can have life or death consequences. More commonly, it results in substandard care.

Too much time spent on documentation. There are many clinicians who are groaning as they read this – between insurance mandates and compliance requirements and coordinating with other facilities, the paperwork involved with one patient can be a nightmare. When the focus gets diverted to the client’s file, the result is that the provider has less time to spend with the patient providing care.

Lack of context. Clinically speaking, context is key to any kind of patient care, whether you’re a primary care physician or specialist. In a paper-based setting, patient information is contained on a number of different files and some even electronically, although it is scattered. Without the ability to quickly search information and review files in one simple location, important details can be missed.

Timely care. With patient care, time is frequently of the essence. Access to medical records frequently stifles care when paper records are involved. For a facility where providers can access critical information 24/7, providers can immediately provide the highest quality care.

HIPAA violations. In a paper setting, records are easily exposed to wandering eyes and practices are exposed to HIPAA violations. It’s also the case that any employee with access to the medical record can the review all of the patient’s record, whether they should or not. By contrast, a document management system can provide document-level security, with audit trail and monitoring. So accounting, for example, only accesses billing information and nothing else.

Record keeping has come a long way. Document management works in a clinical setting to reduce the issues caused by paper medical records and overcomes the hurdles of electronic health records, which can create information silos that reproduce some of these same issues. The challenges presented by a paper-based environment put too much paperwork on medical providers and take away from the quality of care practices are able to deliver. Conversely, managing these records electronically allows them to manage patients – not patient records.

 

Are paper-based files hurting the quality of care your practice can provide patience? Milner Technologies is a leading provider of document management software that integrates with patient management platforms and core practice software. Learn more about our solutions or sign up for a free demo.