Understanding Electronic Medical Records Beyond Scanning

A common misconception has emerged in the healthcare industry with many folks assuming that Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) is limited to the use of scanned images. EMRs represent an entirely new approach towards recording/sharing Patient Healthcare Information (PHI) wherein the use of scanned images is the recommended format. For gaining a more comprehensive view on EMR, it is vital to understand its advantages--

• Patient Information Security-- Use of EMRs ensures--
1. Restricted access to certain sections of medical records
2. Defined levels of access to PHI for personnel at healthcare facility
3. Permanent record of all accesses to patient’s personal information

• Revenue Recovery -- EMR softwares function in a systematic manner to record and update on current/previous billing cycles. This means capturing all the services that haven’t been billed in the previous years, i.e. recovery of inactive revenue sources.

• Profit Maximization through Precise Billings -- using an EMR software means that the codes are automatically and precisely generated for each service rendered. In conventional practice, the medical staff tends to under--code to avoid issues related to intentional over--coding for inflating the charges. Accurate coding means no fear of audits for wrongful coding and increased profits.

• Access to Medical Information -- an EMR software provides a clinician the chance to access his patient’s file in the remotest of locations and in emergency conditions. Being electronically saved, clinical patient data in an EMR can be immediately communicated to the emergency room or critical care units.

• Reduced Expenditures -- a medical office using EMR softwares does not need billing/clerical staff or outsourced coding services and file clerks. Lesser files for patient charts means reduction in volume of paper and data entry professionals. Electronic charting also helps to reduce the transcription costs as a lot of information is fed into the software on an automated basis, upon every patient visit.

• Using a certified EMR software means chances of Misdiagnosis are greatly reduced. Common causes of Misdiagnosis typical to using paper records--
1. Loss of previous medical records (leading to incomplete medical history)
2. Unsystematic documentation
3. Wrongful interpretation due to handwriting issues
4. Course of treatment being outside latest clinical regulations
5. Ignoring medications that conflict patient allergies, other medical conditions

• EMR software can follow--up on--
1. Patient compliance with recommended lifestyle changes
2. Setting of clinical alerts to notify about suspected drug interactions
3. Informing patients about issues like recalled medications