For clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers, the advantages of adopting chiropractic EHR and digital recordkeeping are clear: They help to streamline administrative duties, lend themselves to more accurate diagnoses and even reduce patient care costs. In other words, they're a win-win for both practices and their patients. Unfortunately, it's the latter half of that equation that isn't quite getting the message, according to InformationWeek's Mansur Hasib.
Writing for the business tech news site, Hasib points out a disconcerting and potentially troublesome trend he has noticed lately: a public fear of EHRs, rooted in misinformation and misconceptions about what exactly electronic recordkeeping entails and why, contrary to popular opinion, they are actually safer and more secure alternatives to paper health records.
Advantages of EHR over Paper:
- EHRs can be encrypted or scrambled to keep away prying eyes. Paper documents, naturally, are completely visible to anyone with eyes.
- Practices are "obligated by law to adequately protect [patients'] information or face severe fines and penalties," writes Hasib. Naturally, this is easier done with EHRs, which can be monitored and tracked more clearly than their paper counterparts.
- Providers can create back-ups, stored in separate locations, of digital records in the event of theft, fire or water damage. Paper records on the other hand are limited in how they're copied and where they're stored.
- Some situations may require multiple physicians to consult a patient's records for the sake of making a thorough diagnosis, which is more difficult to do with paper records that aren't readily available to all.
- The infamous doctor's handwriting can make deciphering paper records difficult, especially in time-sensitive situations. Digital records, on the other hand, can be clearly read and understood by anyone.
- When an EHR is accessed, the system logs exactly who viewed that record, when, for how long and if they were even allowed to do so in the first place. None of that information exists for paper recordkeeping — who sees what, for how long and whether they even had authorization are all unknowns because there's no way to track that data.
Getting the word out about the many benefits of chiropractic EMR — not just in their own right, but especially when compared to paper records — is absolutely crucial to improving patient care experiences and making sure, in the event of a possible life-or-death scenario, that the right choice is made.
"Patients' lives [can be] saved because complete and accurate information was electronically available simultaneously to multiple specialists residing in various states, so they could agree on the least risky and most appropriate [course of action]" Hasib writes. "This enabled the right decision to be made the first time. A wrong decision would have resulted in the death of the patient."
Investing in the best chiropractic EHR software can help a practice achieve this improved level of patient care and accuracy, all without negatively affecting day-to-day workflow.