Patient medical records are the backbone of providing top quality medical services. They are necessary to provide medical practitioners with a detailed background of a patient, enabling them to give the appropriate advice and treatment.
The retention of these critical documents is encompassed in the Public Hospitals Act (PHA) – Regulation 965 – Section 20(3) specifically stating patient's medical records must be retained for either 10 years after the last entry or 10 years after the patient would have reached the age of 18. This lengthy retention period rapidly creates a challenge due to significant office space utilization and associated expenses, as well as efficiency and security as the number of patients increase.
Fortunately, PHA – Regulation 965 – Section 34(1) permits the storage of records by electronic means allowing the employment of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, through which medical professionals can address and resolve these issues with ease and recognize several benefits such as:
With an EMR system in place, excessive paperwork is immediately eliminated as all patient data is integrated into the electronic record system. This enables medical charts to be created and updated rapidly. Further, EMR systems accelerate the rate at which patients can be assisted as lab test results and prescriptions can be accessed electronically.
Accessing medical records becomes a headache when a doctor is retiring or moving out of the area. In the case of moving, the use of an EMR eases the transition. Medical professionals are saved from the monetary cost and general inconvenience of transferring countless physical documents. In the event of retirement, documents can be easily transferred to the doctor’s successor to guarantee continued quality of care.
The use of an EMR system provides doctors more time to do what they do best: treat patients. By reducing the amount of time spent searching for physical files and completing paperwork, doctors can reallocate that time to increase the number of patients seen per day.
Increased Financial Performance
Electronic document submissions enabled by an EMR system ensures insurance companies and other healthcare providers to receive claims faster, in turn allowing faster service for clients and faster payments to doctors. The use of electronic documents also ensures increased collections as files are not lost or misplaced.
Improved Quality of Care
An EMR system improves the quality of care that medical professionals provide to their patients. By allowing a patient’s entire health record to be accessed instantly, the best course of action for treatment can quickly be deduced. As well, medical professionals can collaborate creating various systems to improve healthcare practices, such as creating integrated drug databases, symptom checks and drug interaction verifications.
With security and confidentiality of the utmost importance in the medical industry, an EMR system delivers the perfect response to these necessities. Electronic documents are not susceptible to environmental hazards and can be retained indefinitely with ease. Also, files can be encrypted, giving patients and healthcare professionals the document safety they need.
Electronic records are an essential element in the successful transition to any EMR management system. Octacom can help you in digitizing your patient paper files and uploading the images to your EMR system, giving you instant access to your patient records.
Octacom works with over 15 Canadian hospitals and many different EMR systems in digitizing patient records on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis, and provides a rigid chain of custody of documents from source to digitization so that you can rest assured your documents are in secure hands through the process.
Octacom is a SOC 2, Type II Audited enterprise software and services company focused on document and data automation solutions, including automated data capture. Founded in 1976, Octacom specializes in accounts payable automation and automated invoice processing, among other digital / automated business process outsourcing services.
If your organization is looking to learn more about our solutions and services, please contact us and we would be glad to help.