Why Paper Records Are a Thing of the Past

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Medical records are an integral component of the clinical process. From admission to discharge and beyond, secure, reliable, and accurate record-keeping is paramount to exceptional continuity of care. Traditionally, paper medical records and storage have been the standard for all healthcare facilities, but the rapid development of Electronic Health Records (EHR) software promises to make record-keeping, documentation, auditing, and tracking much more intuitive and efficient. There are pros and cons to both, but with trends moving away from the slow, archaic, and environmentally wasteful method of maintaining a paper record database, EHRs will indeed shift the paradigm of medical records.

Paper Medical Records

Paper medical records are the traditional method of clinical documentation, although they are quickly becoming obsolete with the development of EHR software. The pros of using paper records include their relative ease of use and storage, as well as their portability and low cost. However, they also have some major drawbacks that make them less than ideal for use in modern healthcare facilities. They are slow to search through because you have to flip through all the pages to find what you’re looking for. They take up space in your office or facility and can be costly to store off-site. They are not very secure or protected from fire, flood, accidents, or spills. Have you ever come across a physician’s note that was completely illegible? Or an urgent lab result that someone spilled coffee all over? If you have, you might understand why paper records are rapidly becoming a relic of the past.

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are the response to an ever-evolving technological world. An EHR, often used interchangeably with EMR (Electronic Medical Record), is a digital repository of patient demographics, electronically stored and shared within a secure organizational network. They allow care providers and physicians a full picture of a patient’s medical history at a glance and streamline the process of data analytics to improve patient goals over time. Adopting an electronic medical record system can have a learning curve that takes acclimating to, and onboarding can be expensive and time consuming, at first. However, an EHR can streamline the auditing process, making accountability and tracking much easier than on paper. With cloud and mobile services, a physician could document their observations at the bedside, and send an order off before even leaving the room.

There is less risk of losing data to accidents such as fire/flood or misplacement, and it requires less personnel to maintain, lowering costs over time. With electronic medical records, patients can access their records at any time and from anywhere. This gives them more control over their health and wellness, and it also gives them the ability to collaborate with their doctor on an ongoing basis. Plus, electronic medical records enable doctors to be more efficient in their practices. They can easily access patient data and communicate with patients through secure messaging portals.

There are also innovative patient engagement tools that are being developed for use with electronic medical records, including apps that help people manage their chronic conditions, track lifestyle habits such as exercise or diet, and even predict health problems before they happen. The efficiency of electronic record-keeping exponentially increases positive patient outcomes and reduces the mental workload a physician carries, preventing burnout.

Making the Switch

Making the decision to switch over to an electronic record system can seem daunting, but it may be worth the trouble. There has been a recent boom in the adoption rate of EHRs among office-based physicians, and according to HealthIT.gov, as of 2021 as many as “9 in 10 … office-based physicians” have phased in an EHR system in some capacity. This trend is anticipated to increase, as statistics have shown that EHR adoption among health facilities has more than doubled from 42% to 88% since 2008.*

So how do you initiate the process of implementation? You must first find an EHR system that works for your practice. With DrChrono, you will receive an All-In-One software that is tailor-made to integrate seamlessly with your practice. Our award-winning Mobile EHR allows you to securely access records and services with your Apple iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and desktop. Telehealth and Practice Management tools make video visits, scheduling, and self-check-in a breeze for you and your staff. Our dedicated Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) team will save you time and money with a 96+% clean claims rate, and we even provide billing and coding services.

If your practice is looking to finally make the transition to an EHR, our knowledgeable product experts can assist you with your decision. We will tailor a customized system to meet your company’s unique needs and facilitate a stress-free implementation process. Discover why our EHR has been rated #1 by doctors and BlackBook Research. Reach out to one of our representatives at DrChrono today to schedule a demonstration of our services and experience our Award-Winning Service!

*Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. ‘Office-based Physician Electronic Health Record Adoption,’ Health IT Quick-Stat #50. https://www.healthit.gov/data/quickstats/office-based-physician-electronic-health-record-adoption.