The EHR (electronic health records, also referred to as EMR – electronic medical records) is a recent concept that has emerged in the health care industry, partly to comply with the HIPAA rules in protecting patients’ privacy. An EHR is a digital compilation of a patient’s health information, including the patient’s personal data, doctor consultation reports, hospital records, and all other details relating to the individual’s health history.
Bran Honigman writes in Forbes.com that EHRs allow doctors to “to have an indication of the quality of care they provide.” EHRs also give medical practitioners an alternative to paper records which the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has identified to be more at-risk to privacy breaches than electronic records. Needless to say, the information in EHRs should also be held in the strictest confidence, and privacy rights to these records are likewise protected by the HIPAA.
Because of the amount of information that an EHR contains, and subsequent data that it has to include, EHR software are fast becoming hot commodities among those in the health care industries. However, while these software may be HIPAA compliant, and contain safeguards to privacy, other factors can still lead to data security breaches.
The US HRSA has identified such factors as human negligence and network breaches as among the possible causes of unlawful access to electronic patient data. To minimize the risk of breaches, therefore, careful data management planning has to be done, and professional document management services can be invaluable to achieving this.
The teams behind these services can help medical practitioners outline the latter’s processes and needs, such that the possible causes of breaches are identified and addressed. Likewise, a well-equipped document management service, such as Spectrum Information Services, can help a medical professional make the transition from paper to digital, through services that include the scanning of paper documents, and storing and organizing the scanned images in a secure digital location.
(Article Information and Image from Three Emerging Tech Tools Affecting Healthcare, Forbes.com, January 22, 2014)