An era of definite transition has arisen in the health care sector. The unclear status of the legislative attempts to reform the field during the past few months means that hospitals, medical centers and insurers are waiting to see if the regulations governing many aspects of their profession will remain unchanged or begin a process of significant transformation. Digitizing medical records helps speed up this process.
In the interim, the importance of storing all essential medical information in the digital space, through the use of electronic health records platforms, cannot be understated and should be promoted among health care professionals.
That said, modern cloud platforms’ virtually infinite storage capacity cannot guarantee data accuracy. Just digitizing medical records is not enough to reduce error.
“Health care is experiencing an era of uncertainty and transition.”
If EHR compliance requirements suddenly tighten or otherwise change, the rush to implement necessary changes can overburden record-keeping processes and create errors down the line, potentially causing costly compliance violations, adverse patient outcomes and workflow inefficiencies for health care professionals.
As the sector awaits possible changes, ensuring EHR accuracy through partnerships with data entry outsourcing services can facilitate some certainty in a field that is frequently subject to change.
EHRs’ considerable benefits by digitizing medical records
It might be tempting to believe traditional medical record-keeping can circumvent accuracy errors, and indeed, health care providers shouldn’t completely eradicate paper files, if only to ensure a last-ditch backup. But as the Department of Health and Human Services explained, EHRs’ benefits as the primary data currency of care centers are too great to underplay. Advantages including remote access to patient data and critical lab results, reminders to administer medications and preventive care, and alerts in the event of treatment process errors, among others, guarantee EHRs’ necessity.
Error and fraud concerns
Health care providers also cannot ignore the issues that have affected EHR proliferation throughout the sector, many of which surfaced during early adoption. According to The New York Times, HHS acknowledged problematic possibilities, including fraud, overbilling, errors in data cloning and more in 2014. Cloning issues, involving mistakes that arise when data is copied from one document and pasted into another with the aim of increased efficiency and ease of use, were particularly frequent. The department also noted that quite a few of these failures arose due to a lack of formalized standards among hospital IT departments and an inability to detect instances of fraud in a technology that was, at the time, brand new for many health care professionals.
Undoubtedly, fraud and error rates have gone down as more doctors, nurses and support staff have adopted EHRs. However, Modern Healthcare magazine noted that some hospital departments may still experience considerable accuracy issues – specifically, the emergency room. The triage environment, due to its frantic pace and urgency, can exacerbate the likelihood of mistakes, and the decision by some hospitals to set up EHR platforms for their ERs that are separate from the main system can lead to confusion and error as well. According to the publication, while it’s no simple task to measure the tangible effect EHR errors in the ER have on patients’ well-being, the mere possibility of a patient receiving the wrong medication and suffering a fatal reaction is cause enough to be fearful of errors.
Preemptive action through outsourcing
Hospital systems that have not yet transitioned to EHR or have experienced human error, fraud or other mistakes in the process of doing so should strongly consider outsourcing data entry duties to a document scanning services provider like ARDEM. Our high-speed scanners are designed to be proficient in digitizing medical records and indexing records, such as sample management, at a pace that your potentially overburdened staff may simply not be able to match, and we also adhere to standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and all other sector-appropriate compliance guidelines in the course of our labors.
This time of transition for the health care industry requires diligence and attention to detail. Contact ARDEM today to learn more about how outsourced document processing can increase efficiency while reducing costs and eradicating error.