Electronic vs Paper-A typical question

Electronic vs Paper-A typical question

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In this era of electronic document management, a common topic of discussion for medical practices is whether or not to move to an EMR system, or stay with paper? Many factors come into play when making a decision like this, such as: cost, down time, ease of operation, training and Meaningful Use qualifications, to name a few. The most important thing to consider, however, is whether the upfront sacrifice will be worth the end result? If so, then by all means you should make the switch.

A client we have at CoreTech is currently facing this exact situation. Although they have implemented an EMR system they are not using it to full capacity and need to decide whether to implement it fully. Although their system is operational, out of their 60,000 patients they are only using it for patients that are new to the practice or those that begin a new course of treatment. If the patient volume alone doesn’t justify making a change, there are also other issues to consider: Demographics – there are three practices and only one shared storage facility; Security – there are records at each of the facilities with no security measures in place; Wasted Capacity – they paid for a system they are under-utilizing; and Meaningful Use Changes – new regulations for EMR usage are on the way. Due to all of these factors they have decided to fast track full implementation of their EMR system.

After a few discussions with the client regarding the scope of such a project, the objective became clear: switch to medical records as efficiently as possible with as little interruption as possible and as soon as possible. Although this situation may seem a bit extreme, it really is all too common. Sometimes offices don’t realize how far behind they are, or how inefficiently they are running until a final need hits them. The need for EMR type systems is growing all the time. With the need to run more efficient (cheaper) operations increasing annually and the Meaningful Use incentives out there, offices are finding it almost impossible to compete without such systems in place.

EMR systems have the ability to communicate at all levels; from real-time changes and updates, to long term cloud storage for later use. All-in-all, EMR systems are proving to be the way of the future and a much more efficient and secure way to conduct business. They come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of cost and use. With several vendors and consultants out there bidding for your business, be sure to understand your need as well as the vendors’ ability to fill it. Be sure to ask questions and get the answers that best work for you and what you are looking for in the long term. Be sure when all is said and done, you have met your needs and are comfortable with your purchase.

~Trevor Stephens