Why Is It Important to Digitize Medical Records?

by | Published on Sep 6, 2019 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Healthcare industries are working towards operating in a paperless environment. Many health care facilities are scanning their paper-based medical records and entering the healthcare details into the electronic medical record system. Hospital, clinics and other healthcare facilities rely on document scanning services provided by a professional document scanning company to make the digital transformation easier. Such a company scans paper-charts, notes, lab records, X-rays and medical records and integrates them with the medical facility’s system (electronic health record/electronic medical record). Converting all medical records into digital files helps save time and money, lower production time, increase communication and collaboration in the team, increase accessibility, free up office space, streamline patient processes and quality of care, eliminate risks of misfiling and accidental loss of records. In addition, it also allows the medical facility staff to focus on their core competencies.

Digitize Medical Records

Other benefits of medical record scanning and EMR data entry include:

  • Allows records to be easily stored and accessed – By scanning and uploading patient charts into an EMR, you will be able to access them quickly, always store them correctly, and also eliminate the need to find space to house them. If a patient wants the doctor to answer to their specific question or wants to see their medical records, then the office staff will have to stop what they are doing, go down to records, find the patient’s records, copy them, and then deliver them to the patient. However, scanning the documents and entering them into the electronic health record (EHR) system helps the files to be located easily via a simple search and the office staff can email them to the patient within minutes. This also allows patients to be provided treatment in a timely manner.
  • Saves costs – When using EMR system, you will require fewer personnel to manage your records, less space to store them and less security to protect them. This in turn ensures cost savings.
  • Helps improve security – EMR improves efficiency and helps increase productivity within an office. Electronic documents are sorted with premade automations, so human error is less likely to occur. In addition, they can be backed up onto multiple systems, and encrypted. When multiple copies are saved and backed up, your files will remain safe even during natural disasters or surprise power outages. Cloud hosting allows the files to be encrypted and stored on offsite servers. These files can be accessed with a unique login password that will decrypt them. This security keeps out unauthorized individuals and tracks exactly who has logged on with their unique ID and what they did. In order to preserve the document integrity, you can lock them and avoid future edits or duplications.
  • Improves accuracy and readability – Paper medical records are difficult to read and understand if the doctors’ handwriting is illegible. On the other hand, electronic medical records are in a standardized typeface and terminology. This assures an easy and accurate read for anyone trying to understand the information; this in turn leaves less room for confusion.

Even if this is the case, many healthcare settings are hesitant to take on the task of converting from the paper-based medical record system to the electronic health record, as making the change can be time-consuming and costly. In addition, physicians and staff may have difficulty in transitioning to a new way of collecting and handling patient information.

An audit conducted by Veterans Affairs (VA) office of Inspector General found that , there is a massive backlog of documents waiting to be scanned and digitized at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities and if these documents were stacked, then they would stand more than 5 miles tall. The Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report says that, “the backlog occurred because VA medical facility staff did not scan documents, and enter them into patients’ EHRs (electronic health records) in a timely manner. Staff also did not always perform appropriate reviews and monitoring to assess the overall quality and legibility of scanned documents. Inaccurate EHRs put patients at risk and compromise continuity of care because accurate medical diagnoses and treatment depend on complete and current documentation.”

OIG report also says that, “VHA needs to improve supervision and management of scanning activities including importing, indexing and legibility checks and ensure that related resource and staffing are adequate. These steps would facilitate medical records being scanned and indexed to EHRs in a timely manner and support appropriate quality assurance monitoring throughout the scanning process. This will help ensure veterans receive appropriate, thorough and timely care.”

Healthcare organizations should consider outsourcing medical document scanning tasks to a professional document scanning company. A reliable document scanning service provider can scan medical records and other medical documents efficiently so that they are stored in your system in a timely manner. This in turn ensures that only authorized users have access to accurate patient information. They also even index the digitized medical documents for easy and instant retrieval.

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