Few industries benefit from the development of new technology as much as the healthcare industry. When people’s lives and health hang in the balance, even a marginally increased capacity or efficiency can make a significant difference. While advancements in treatments and care are important and justifiably get most of the attention in the industry, it’s also important to understand the importance of software that increases organizational efficiency; when doctors, nurses, and staff can do their jobs better, a medical practice can treat more patients and do so more effectively, saving time, money, and even lives in the process.
One of the best ways to do this is through electronic medical record (EMR) software, which can help you consolidate and better manage your medical records.
The Basics of EMR Software
The fundamental concept of EMR software is straightforward; it exists as a way to collect, store, access, and search all your patient’s medical records. There are many different providers of this software, so different versions will have different features, but the goal is to take up less space, increase efficiency, and improve group access, often via cloud storage.
So what are the key benefits here?
How EMR Can Change Your Medical Practice for the Better
Consider these potential transformations you can lead with the integration of EMR software in your organization:
1. Saving physical space. First, note that physical copies of medical records take up physical space. When you’re looking at one chart, it may not seem like much, but over the course of years, you’ll wind up with full archives of paper taking up space and weight. It takes forever to find a specific piece of information in that ever-growing pile, and if you ever have to move to a new location, you’ll curse yourself for not going digital. EMR records will save you that physical space.
2. Allowing inter-departmental access. Digital records are available to anyone within your medical practice who needs to access them, whether it’s a doctor, a nurse, or another staff member. This becomes increasingly important as the size of your organization scales up; eventually, you’ll get to a size where a single physical copy of a medical record simply isn’t capable of providing the requisite information to all appropriate parties in a timely fashion.
3. Increasing record safety. Physical records aren’t just a nuisance because of the amount of space they occupy; they’re also a hazard because of their inherent destructibility. You may be able to take some precautions in how you store them, but paper-based medical records are still capable of catching fire, getting wet, or getting lost. When they’re stored in the cloud, with multiple backups, there’s almost nothing that can compromise their integrity in any way. And as you know, the preservation of medical records is of the utmost importance, both for client health and safety and your own legal accountability.
4. Reducing errors and increasing accountability. EMR systems carefully guide users through the process of filling out records, and standardize formatting to reduce the number of errors possible. Because the system is centralized, there are also fewer opportunities for multiple parties to overwrite or interfere with what others have created. Because the system also keeps track of who’s doing what, there’s also a greater level of individual accountability.
5. Minimizing labor and operational costs. There’s a bit of a learning curve with EMR systems, especially if your staff is totally unfamiliar with the concept, but once they’re trained and up to speed, the presence of an EMR system will greatly increase the efficiency of your organization. You’ll spend less time and money managing physical records, and you’ll be able to get more done for less money.
6. Allowing greater customization. Today’s EMR systems are generally customizable, at least to a degree, so you can create and modify the perfect system for your specific practice’s needs. For example, if you serve a specific niche, you can customize different standard forms and procedures to cater to that niche.
These benefits are some of the most impactful you’ll notice, and all of them will either increase your practice’s ability to treat patients, or save you time and money in the process. If you haven’t already digitized your records or aren’t in the process of doing so, this needs to be one of your top priorities; there’s no excuse not to adapt your practice for the modern age of technology.