If there ever was an industry that could benefit from the advantages of document management software (DMS), it would be healthcare. The healthcare industry is responsible for managing thousands—and in some cases millions—of patient-related medical records. It is not difficult to imagine that the volume of paperwork and the man hours required to manage and organize these records manually can become extremely overwhelming.
Some of the challenges faced by every healthcare provider entail keeping patient records safe and secure, ensuring that patient information is easily retrievable, reducing the administrative overhead associated with managing and organizing patient records and complying with global industry standards and government regulations.
Paper-Based Medical Chart Management—The Challenge
The terms medical chart and medical record are often used interchangeably. They are used to describe the systematic documentation of patient’s medical history and care over a period of time. These records contain a variety of information related to observations, administration of drugs and therapies, test results, X-rays, reports etc. Other contents of a medical record or chart include:
- Administered medication and adverse reactions to medication
- The patient’s current medication list
- Immunization records
- Unresolved issues from previous visits
- Diagnoses and treatment plans, etc.
The maintenance of complete and accurate medical charts is therefore a requirement of healthcare providers and is generally enforced as a licensing or certification perquisite.
One of the main problems, however, is that these paper based records/charts can often take up valuable office space. Over time, the increase in the volume of patient records will demand more filing cabinet space often lead to office spaces that are cramped, cluttered and disorganized.
As a result of this, countless man-hours are spent trying to sort, organize, and retrieve patient records on a daily basis. Overhead hours soar and productivity and efficiency suffers as resources are often dedicated to administrative tasks rather than patient care.
Another main issue with paper-based medical records is ensuring that they can be kept safe and secure for a period of time. What makes the security of medical records especially challenging is that they must be sometimes stored for periods of up to 30 years. During this time, paper-based records can be lost due to employee negligence, natural disasters, fires, theft, and other things. Furthermore, over time paper based records naturally deteriorate and become illegible.
Most importantly, these issues are in violation with modern regulatory and government standards such as HIPAA.
Medical Records and Document Management Software
The introduction of document management software has completely revolutionized the way in which medical records are stored and managed.
Document management software is primarily concerned with managing and controlling how documents are created, reviewed, published, and archived or disposed. In other words, document management software allows a document to be monitored or tracked during its life cycle. In addition, document management software provides users with a means of easily sharing information securely with stakeholders.
Electronic DMS possesses inherent functions and attributes that make them HIPAA compliant. Medical files stored in robust DMS can be easily retrieved by utilizing powerful search capabilities. This can result in alleviating problems and delays with recovering patient’s records. In cases where a patient’s medical records may need to be transferred to another facility, DMS such as eFileCabinet provides secure portals to collaborate and share information with other healthcare facilities. These convenient services can eventually lead to reduced overhead, cost savings, and overall improved process efficiency.
As also required by HIPAA, the information stored and shared via DMS is secured using a variety of safety measures. This ensures that patient’s files remain private and confidential. Other security measures include daily backups and other technical safeguards to allow files to be retrieved in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.
How eFileCabinet Can Help with Medical Chart Management
Our very own eFileCabinet possess capabilities that no healthcare provider should be without. In addition to the functionality listed above, eFileCabinet provides added benefits such as:
- Workflow management—With eFileCabinet’s workflow module tasks and activities can be routed to specific predetermined users(s) with the click of a mouse. Having an automated workflow process has the potential to significantly reduce the time for repetitive administrative tasks and eliminates the probability of duplicate files and folders associated with poor workflows.
- Audit trail capabilities—eFileCabinet’s built in audit trail provides users with a means to track file changes by recording information on file editing and user data.
- eFileCabinet also provides state of the art security measures that surpass HIPAA requirements. All medical records are stored on SAS 70 type II data centers with multiple physical security barriers and intrusion detection to prevent unauthorized access. Furthermore, all data that resides on eFileCabinet’s systems are protected using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption to ensure confidentiality. Files stored on our systems can be easily and safely shared using our online environment without fear of data leakage.
There are many other benefits that eFileCabinet can offer to healthcare providers seeking to efficiently manage their medical records. To find out more about these benefits please fill out our form for a free 15-minute demo.