HealthIT.gov defines an electronic medical record (EMR) as “a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient’s medical history from one practice.” In contrast to comprehensive electronic health records, which can be shared with other providers involved in a patient’s care, an EMR would have to be printed out and delivered to other providers outside of its practice of origin.
In any case, most healthcare practices these days are under pressure to automate their systems in compliance with the requirements of the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Efficient document management in any healthcare practice can help boost the quality of patient care and helps minimize potential errors. A WCPO report cites the difficulties that may be encountered if patient records are not managed properly:
“WCPO’s Tony Mirones spoke with a nurse practitioner about the difficulty of dealing with a patient without knowing their background.
“It’s a method, or manner, of investigation. There are a lot of questions to dig information out of — or if you’re dealing with a younger child, quite often they don’t know what their diagnosis was. They may not know what medication they were on or the allergies they have,” said Roxanne Gall, nurse practitioner.”
Under HIPAA, patients have a right to obtain copies of their medical records as well as to request for amendments to erroneous entries. As such, it makes a lot of sense for healthcare practices to utilize convenient EMR platforms that make it easy to produce copies of a patient’s medical records and carry out the necessary corrections. Such a system also streamlines the insurance claims process as patient files are already sorted for easy retrieval.
Meanwhile, as far as the accounts payable automation process is concerned, clinics would do well to work with a reputable provider like Spectrum Information Services. With this system in place, a clinic can fully take advantage of electronic invoicing and payment options and be ready to face the demands of an increasingly automated healthcare industry.
(Article Information and Image from HIPAA privacy rules: What you should know about access to medical records before switching doctor, WCPO Cincinnati, 23 January 2014)