Disadvantages of Electronic Medical Records
As more hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare organizations begin migrating to digital document management systems, this high-tech form of tracking, storing, and sharing patient data is continually under scrutiny to assess whether or not it’s a prudent process to adopt. While there are significant procedural and financial advantages, some have noted disadvantages of electronic medical records (EMRs), as identified and discussed below.
Key Concerns with EMRs
Here is a list of some of the perceived disadvantages of electronic medical records from an internal operations perspective:
- Significant Start-up Costs: From the technology, including hardware installations and software upgrades, to staff training, the start-up costs of migrating to electronic medical records is significant, especially for a small medical practice or for a large medical network of remote offices. There is a lot of time and labor involved up-front to migrate paper files to a completely electronic platform.
- Lack of Quality Patient Time: When doctors, nurses, and administrative staff are unfamiliar with the technology and how a new system works, they often spend more time on it. Or, they may be uncomfortable using it so it will take them longer to execute a task. All this lost time could be potentially spent servicing patients or tending to other mission critical matters.
- Paging Standards, Where are You: Since electronic medical records, as an industry, is still in its infancy, we have yet to see a standardization of EMR requirements and utilization across healthcare organizations, insurance companies, pharmacies, etc. The problem is when these disparate systems do not synchronize, it results in errors, duplication of efforts, or a lag in time in service. .
- Security Concerns are Still an Issue: While many might think that migrating to an electronic system would be safer, another one of the disadvantages of electronic medical records is vulnerability those systems inherently create. . There is still a real concern that no matter how many firewalls, password encryptions, and other security features added, there will be a hacker who can beat the system and potentially compromise and steal personal information.
In addressing these concerns, there is one key way to circumvent these and other disadvantages of electronic medical records. Working with a highly specialized electronic medical records solutions provider will assure that best-of-breed technologies, and the industry and operational expertise, is in place.
By outsourcing the entire process, your staff can also then focus on core business areas and foster the company’s service reputation. An electronic medical records partner also best ensures systems integrate with others in synergistic industries, and that the best and most current security mechanisms are deployed to keep patient information inaccessible to those unauthorized to view.
In summarizing the above points, here are the key concepts to take away with you:
- Disadvantages of EMRs include large start-up costs, lack of quality patient time, little to no standardization between EMR systems and technology, and concern about security breaches.
- All these concerns can be addressed by potentially partnering with an outsource company that specializes in electronic medical records as they have the technology and trained staff to handle large volumes of patient information. They have also invested the time and resources into the latest equipment and security measures.
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.