Top Features of EHRs for Effective Medical Records Management
Electronic health records are purpose-built for collaborative care throughout the entire lifecycle of patient records. EHRs offer numerous benefits to healthcare providers and patients alike, improving the accessibility and portability of patient information.
Additionally, EHRs streamline administrative tasks, enhance efficiency, and reduce paperwork for healthcare teams and support evidence-based practices and treatments for improved patient outcomes.
If you’re evaluating available EMRs or EHRs for your practice, consider whether they possess these key features for maximum efficiency and compliance:
When handling patient records, privacy and data security compliance must be front of mind — both for the patients’ safety and to avoid penalties and legal issues stemming from data breaches. Regulations like HIPAA’s Privacy Act require certain protections for medical information, such as user authentication.
HIPAA also dictates that medical records must be “adequately destroyed” after its predetermined retention period, or the amount of time a practice retains records after a patient has ceased seeking treatment. Each practice is free to determine its own records retention schedule, but it should be adhered to and communicated to patients as soon as their medical record is created. Digital records are easy to protect and destroy, when necessary.
Automation is a powerful capability that can both save time and money for medical offices and reduce incidences of human error or forgetfulness. By integrating EHRs with practice management software, patient records and services rendered can automatically update one another in real time. This automatic updating saves practices from investing in time-consuming data entry, while automatic ICD and CPT code suggestions ensure that billing is accurate and reimbursement is not delayed.
HIPAA also requires that patients’ health records be easily accessible. EHRs have responded to this requirement with the proliferation of patient portals, which allow patients to verify their identity, sign in, and review the medical data collected by their provider’s practice from anywhere. Cloud-based EHRs allow both patients and providers to access their EHRs from anywhere, so patients can continuously engage with their care at any time without burdening clinicians with phone calls and in-person appointments. More information shared between patients and providers leads to more patient engagement — and better patient outcomes.
Ultimately, EHRs help improve the overall quality of care, enhance patient outcomes, and promote a more connected and efficient healthcare system.