Work in a medical facility or doctor’s office? Do you still use paper charts and files for your patients? It’s estimated that a staggering 15 billion trees are cut down each year, in part due to high paper demands.
Despite pushes for electronic record management, many facilities, hospitals included, continue to rely on paper files. This can often result in lost files or generally delayed care while paper charts are consulted.
Still using paper, but know it’s time to go digital? Check out three helpful tips for converting from paper to electronic medical records. You won’t regret it.
1. Make a Plan
It’s a good idea to choose a project manager to oversee the process from start to finish. This person can be the main liaison between your office and the vendor (if you’re using one) for the new system.
Life will be easier if you choose someone who is already good with computers.
Before choosing a new EMR system, sit down with staff and identify current file issues you want to solve. Have realistic conversations about how you will scan all your records into the new system.
Will you pay current staff overtime or hire temporary staff? Will you use a third-party vendor to handle the scanning? Be mindful of confidentiality concerns with the latter.
2. Get Adequate Training
There is nothing more annoying for a patient than to be delayed because a staff member can’t use their own systems. To avoid this, make sure your agreement with your vendor includes in-depth, hands-on training.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are paying for a service. It is important to understand every feature available. These systems can only provide the best service to you and patients if you know how to use them.
3. Start Slow and Expect a Transition Period
You will not go from paper records to full-on digital overnight. Be patient. Often, a good idea for this process is to scan and convert the most important information first. This includes medical history, most recent lab tests, notes, etc.
This is one way to slowly introduce relying on the EMR instead of paper files.
Benefits of Converting from Paper to Electronic Medical Records
While transferring records is definitely an involved process, it is worth it. An electronic record system lets patients themselves access their information wherever they are.
An EMR also allows for faster updates and communication between doctors and offices. One of the best features is the safety. Losing a paper file is easy to do and can be very stressful. With a digital system, data is protected and backed up.
A Stress-Free Transition IS Possible
Letting go of paper files doesn’t have to be chaotic. Proper planning and implementation will lead to a smooth transition, resulting in happy staff and patients.
Ready to get serious about converting from paper to electronic medical records? Contact us to discuss your specific situation and learn how to get started!