Pros and Cons of Electronic Medical Records
As more healthcare and medical organizations migrate toward a paperless environment, listing the pros and cons of electronic medical recordsis a common way companies determine the best solution for their particular organization. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider when moving to electronic document management of medical records.
When weighing the pros and cons of electronic medical records, here are key advantages:
- Reduction in human errors: Not having to rely on illegible or incorrect files, inaccurate filing and unsecure storage means that electronic medical records eliminate many layers of human contact for an overall reduction in what can become costly mistakes.
- Safety and security: While paper files can be lost, damaged, stolen or subjected to natural disasters, electronic medical records circumvent many of these situations with greater safeguards.
- Cost-efficiencies through data consolidation: By creating a centralized location for digitized medical records, this system reduces duplication of efforts and documents, and increases the speed of exchanging information. This saves on labor costs as well as enhances operational efficiencies that increases productivity through a greater volume of transactions.
Some of the disadvantages to consider in the pros and cons of electronic medical records equation:
- Perceived threat to privacy: Some believe that, instead of protecting privacy, a digital system means that a certain amount of confidentiality is lost and information can be accessed by unauthorized parties.. However, because of HIPAA compliance, medical record document management companies go through great lengths to ensure patient information remains secure and accessible in a legally compliant manner.
- Perceived lose of human oversight: With the advent of more technology, some fear systems that are fully automated with no human management or intervention.. Of course, well-trained personnel are involved to oversee and ensure all automated electronic medical record systems are fully functioning at all times.
- Perceived lack of standardization: Because electronic medical records are still a relatively new platform , many believe that certain levels of standardization for quality, efficiency and productivity have yet to be achieved. However, as technology and service levels continually improve, there is less likelihood that this will continue to be a concern.
In summarizing the advantages and disadvantages with electronic medical records, the following key points are critical for consideration:
- Pros include reduction in human errors, greater safety and security, and cost-efficiencies due to data consolidation.
- Perceived cons include a threat to privacy, a loss of human touch points in the healthcare setting, and a lack of standardization due to the fact that the system is relatively new.
- All pros and cons must be considered, but, overall, many of the cons can be refuted due to increasing HIPAA compliance requirements and the fact that electronic systems are known to reduce the time spent on administrative tasks so that healthcare groups can focus on their core business.
Fig Gungor is CEO of OneSource Document Management, a New York based company that offers a broad range of customized copy and scanning services that translate into a significant savings for insurance companies, hospitals and large medical facilities.