The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 mandated the digitizing of paper-based healthcare records, and for good reason. Read on to discover just a few of the benefits of going paperless in the healthcare industry.
The Limitations of Paper Medical Records
Let’s discuss just a few of the inherent difficulties presented by the use of paper-based healthcare records systems.
1. Illegible handwriting. The handwritten prescription is fast becoming a forgotten practice. The same is true of handwritten notes taken during patient office visits. Healthcare providers realize the information is simply too important to risk errors due to a misinterpretation of handwriting. By switching to electronic healthcare records, the risk of this type of error is eliminated.
2. Difficulties sharing and storing. By the same token, handwritten or unstructured data can’t be shared with existing computerized systems. Additional data entry steps must be undertaken, introducing more opportunities for error. The extra time required can also delay treatment and billing processes.
2. Paper-based systems are more expensive than paperless. From the cost of paper and consumables to maintenance and repairs, paper-heavy strategies are vastly more costly than paperless solutions. Healthcare facilities can also benefit by freeing up space for mission-critical procedures by eliminating filing cabinets, binders and shelving units used to house paper healthcare records.
3. Digital documents are easier to locate. It can take up to 18 minutes to locate a paper document while paperless records take mere seconds to find. When it comes to healthcare, every second counts. For those occasions when a paper test result can’t be located, new tests must be ordered, adding to the nation’s already enormously high healthcare costs and putting the patient’s health at risk. Paperless healthcare records are immediately accessible to anyone who needs them, no matter the time or location.