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Advantages and Disadvantages of EMR vs. Paper-Based Records

Electronic Medical Records vs. Paper-Based Records

This article presents the advantages and disadvantages of electronic health records (i.e., EMR, EHR) and paper-based medical records advantages and disadvantages. This article takes a practical look at how converting from manual record keeping to EMR software typically affects a private medical practice.

The Growing Need for EMR – The Elephant in the Room

Private practice clinicians have or will become involved in discussing the pros and cons of switching from paper-based records to electronic medical records. Clinicians often apply a negative focus on government pressure and regulations to implement EMR as reasons they have yet to make the transition. The positive focus that is too often given a backseat is realizing the opportunities that EMR / EHR can provide. With EMR, a medical practice can improve front office efficiency, increase patient care quality, and mitigate high-risk situations.

How Does Your Choice of Medical Record Keeping Affect Your Practice?

Rather than force-feeding you our opinions, we’ve prepared questions that let you arrive at your own conclusions about paper vs. electric records.

Which System Improves Efficiency and Financial Performance?

  • Simultaneous Access to Records: Operational efficiency is increased when information can be simultaneously accessed by multiple users. Paper files must be retrieved or tracked down and shared desk-to-desk in order for a paper-based system to function.
  • Lost or Misplaced Records: Which form of record keeping mitigates problems from misplaced records or damaged documents? Does your staff lose productivity searching for files that could easily be viewed on a cloud-based system?
  • Billing Accuracy: Which system strengthens the billing and collections process? Which system provides the optimal record keeping, and ability to produce reports?
  • Sharing Records with Third Parties: Which form of record keeping presents a more professional image of your practice? Is it easier to take time and cost to copy and fax, or simply email information?
  • Ease of Use: Accuracy is critical. Which form of record keeping provides the most legible and organized information? Which system makes it easier for a person to quickly go to the exact information they need?

Which System Is Most Likely to Improve Patient Care?

  • Intelligent Alerts: The best EMR systems contain a patient’s medications and known allergies. This information supports the capability for automatic interactions with newly prescribed pharmaceuticals and existing medications.
  • Emergency Response Capability: Information gathered by a primary care provider and recorded in an EHR tells a clinician in the emergency department about a patient’s life-threatening allergy, and emergency staff can adjust care appropriately, even if the patient is unconscious.
  • Organized Patient Care Details: An EMR / EHR provides a well-organized, searchable system for all patient information. From physician care to insurance billing, everything is organized and easy to find.
  • Identify and Correct Problems: An EMR / EHR can enable clinicians to quickly identify and manage operational problems. With paper-based records finding problems is generally left to chance, and correcting errors can be a difficult and time-consuming process.
  • Reduce Potential Dangers: An EMR / EHR can actively reveal potential safety in a timely manner, thereby enabling clinicians to avoid detrimental outcomes or severe consequences for patients.

Which System Reduces Liabilities and Risks Your Practice May Encounter?

  • Compliance Chaos: It’s easier to make a change when you have control and time on your side. What would happen within your practice if total EMR compliance became law this year? Would the ensuing urgency be something you could manage while smoothly running your front office?
  • Liability Issues and HIPAA Violations: Which system would benefit you the most if you faced a legal situation? Which system best supports your adherence to evidence-based practices, informed consent and reconstructing events during the time of care?
  • Natural Disaster: What would happen to your practice in the event of a tornado, hurricane, catastrophic fire or flood? Could you maintain continuity of business? Do you have up-to-date copies of medical records stored off-site?
  • Criminal Sabotage: Criminal Sabotage: Which system protects your practice’s ability to function in the event of criminal activity? What if a burglar or disgruntled employee destroyed or stole records?
  • Inability to Collect: In the event of a disaster, can your system enable you to manage your billing and receivables? Can you reconstruct records in order to maintain collections, meet timely filing, view current ledgers, and reference active billing?

Imagine Gaining More Office Space When Paper Records Become EMR/EHR

Shelves and racks filled with paper-based records in a medical practice.

Why Should You Upgrade to EMR / EHR?

When clinicians have access to complete and up-to-date patient information they can make better decisions. Electronic medical records software simplifies records management, enhances the ability to diagnose problems, assists in preventing treatment errors, and improves operational efficiency. EMR can play a pivotal role in fighting malpractice claims, and audit-related problems.

Does Procrastinating Really Help Your Practice?

Ultimately every medical practice has to decide what works best for their practice. The history of business over the past 100 years includes countless examples of resistance to adopting new technologies. Until 1940 many businesses dismissed the value of telephones. In the 1980’s many businesses stubbornly decided to keep typewriters instead of buying computers. Eventually, every business adapted these technologies, and soon realized the tremendous value they had been missing. The correct decision to leverage automation has always had a positive impact.

How to Maximize Your Decision to Move Ahead

You have a many choices for EMR/EHR software solutions. Each software system has its own unique aesthetic and navigational layout. Certainly, ease of use and cost are top things to consider. There is, however, one thing that makes a huge difference in customer satisfaction; the vendor you choose. It is absolutely critical to select a vendor who is committed to providing excellent customer support. MediPro is known in the healthcare industry for its award-winning, exceptional service offerings after-the-sale. Among the many benefits of working with MediPro are:

  • A friendly and skilled team that will work closely with you on implementation and records conversion.
  • Easy to follow training on how to maximize usage with your new EMR / EHR system. Our training process consists of private, topic-centric sessions and along with a myriad of ways to contact them for support assistance.
  • Reasonable pricing for EMR software installation, training, support and project management.

Migrating from paper-based record keeping to electronic medical records makes perfect sense. The question is, “How long will it be before you make the move and prepare your practice for the present day and the future?”.

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