Have you ever wondered if the role of patient medical histories or records involves multiple purposes? It may be legal, communication, accreditation, research, regulatory, decision-making, and education. The primary change during recent years has revolved around evolution. We moved from paper-based personal health records to electronic health records (EHR).

By now, your medical organization’s leadership has concluded that paper-based records have more problems than benefits and that it is time to switch to EHR. While some practices may get by using old-fashioned paper, you must address the flaws. Paper records need to be more secure. Besides, it is becoming more work to justify using this outdated method of maintaining patient files.

Utilizing an electronic health record or EHR approach gives you much better control over information security. This blog will discuss and compare paper records vs electronic records. Here are some reasons electronic medical records are more secure than paper records. It will explain, how it will help you make the case to your team for moving forward with an EHR.

Accessibility of Patient Records is Easier in Electronic Health Records

Accessibility questions surrounding paper medical records vs electronic medical records are “Who?” And when?” – Electronic medical records are simultaneously and immediately accessible by all authorized professionals as long as they have access to the original storage system. Conversely, paper-based patient medical histories are only available on a one-time basis. Sharing it requires mailing or converting to an electronic format by scanning or emailing. With the physical mail option for PPR, accessibility through the EHR can be a matter of days instead of seconds.

Paper health records discourage interaction between stakeholders, while electronic health records create an opportunity for immediate feedback. With PPR, many patients do not see their health files. One of the most exciting changes in EHR systems is the active inclusion of patients in keeping and reviewing personal health records. With the rapidly advancing state of technology, healthcare professionals and patients want the “real-time information” that comes standard with EHRs—one of the primary benefits of electronic health records.

Electronic Health Records Only Grant Access to Authorized Users

A paper-based method for your patient’s medical documents makes it easy for unauthorized people to access them without your knowledge. For example, an employee may leave the patient file during a busy day instead of returning it to the filing cabinet. Or somebody misfiles the information, which is even more harmful for the patients in question.

Suppose you’ve ever photocopied essential documents and got distracted by a phone call or another area of ​​your attention. In that case, you know how easy it is to leave a document behind for someone else to see. With an electronic health records and information technology system, you can control who can access a patient’s medical history and when.

Furthermore, electronic versions of patient charts are now more suitable to convey to further concerned parties. It includes, for example, providing a follow-up report to a physician who referred a patient to one of your specialists. You can instantly send it electronically instead of arranging for a courier or overnight mail. Thereafter, the information you send will be end-to-end secure, keeping patient information safe and more convenient to use.

Trustworthiness of Patient Records: Electronic Health Records Vs. Paper-based Patient Records

Improving reliability is a significant goal when healthcare organizations transition from paper to electronic records. For instance, poor spelling by doctors and other healthcare professionals has always been a potential severe error when dealing with paper medical records. EHR computer and word-processing applications eliminate this primary PPR source of unreliability.
Electronic health records are organized impossibly with paper filing systems. Generate errors and improper documentation alerts in the EHR that highlight inappropriate entries.

Encryption of Electronic Health Records Keeps Your Data Secure

A paper record is easily exposed. It allows anyone to view, transcribe facts, make a copy, or scan or fax the information to a third party. In contrast, with strong encryption, you can protect electronic records to keep important patient information from prying eyes. Your organization should do everything possible to comply with HIPAA and other privacy regulations.

Electronic medical records make it more relaxing to keep confidentiality over paper records. In an exciting example of an organization failing to protect patient information in paper records. Then, US Health and Human Services conveyed that its Office for Civil Rights fined Jackson Health System $2.15 million. Because it lost paper records storing protected health information. Or it’s 756 patient PHI. You and your patients need more robust security from paper records. Thus, it automatically comes with an EHR as a part of the benefits of electronic health records.

Detailed View of Cost Factors As The Benefits of Electronic Health Records

In the realm of paper records vs electronic records, prudent healthcare organizations cannot ignore any opportunity to save time and money—an EHR process does both. According to HITEC-LA, every dollar spent on EHRs yields two more dollars on the bottom line. Reducing storage costs means much more than eliminating warehouses full of paper records.

Electronic records are also environmentally friendly and can be stored indefinitely without quality degradation. For example, this feature of EHRs can result in critical medical data being available long after the physical files have already faded – or been destroyed in a natural disaster. With electronic health records, hospitals and other healthcare providers will also be in a better negotiating position for managed care contracts.

Paper Records Issue to Tampering

Anyone can alter paper records in ways that may be difficult to detect. For example, one can remove documents from a report or create a revised copy instead of the original information. Encryption and strong login and password systems protect electronic health records, making it more difficult for someone to make unauthorized adjustments to patient charts and other information.

Audit Trails

Electronic health records or EHR systems offer improved security to medical organizations for the debate of paper medical records vs electronic medical records because they allow you to create an audit trail. There are several compelling reasons why EHRs are superior in this regard.

Digital History of Patient Interactions

First, EHRs provide a comprehensive and organized digital history of patient interactions, making it significantly easier to track changes and access specific information. This digital format increases transparency, allowing authorized users to monitor who accessed the records and when, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

Strong Security

EHRs also often incorporate authentication mechanisms such as user logins and passwords, further strengthening security. Timestamp entry and editing capabilities ensure an accurate timeline of events, which is crucial for compliance and accountability.

Efficient Audit Process

Moreover, EHRs facilitate faster and more efficient audits, reducing the time and effort required for record retrieval and review. In short, the digital nature of electronic health records and information technology provides superior audit trail capabilities by ensuring the integrity and security of patient information. The fact that someone accesses data they shouldn’t see will highlight an audit situation, unlike paper records, which can be challenging to control. Of course, your adequately trained employees will be aware of these safeguards, which can be an incentive to mind their business.

Considerations for Quality of Care

Providing better care to patients serves a primary mission for any healthcare professional. One way that EHRs can actively contribute to a higher quality of care is by improving public health surveillance – rapid reporting of infectious diseases can be facilitated by more detailed and faster responses made possible by electronic record processes. Automated EHR reminders generally reduce mistakes, errors, and omissions.

Security and Compliance Concerns

Security vulnerabilities can exist in both PPR and EHR. Both formats can result in theft and are vulnerable to damage from other events such as floods and fires. With paper records limited to one copy, EHRs provide a safety edge with backup copies. Healthcare professionals should pay close attention to this area – don’t cut corners when deciding how to handle compliance and security concerns for your records transfer process.

In Terms of Productivity

What is the value of saving the time required to draw a chart? – or to delete lost charts? According to one study, overall efficiency will increase by 6 percent annually with EHRs. Electronic health records will improve productivity in ways you might not expect. For example:

  • More irregular pharmacy callbacks,
  • The comfort of communicating with the whole care team is a part of the benefits of electronic health records,
  • Less general time filling out forms,
  • More transparency when reading prescriptions and medical terminology.

Data Backup after Disasters

Keeping your patient’s medical histories secure involves more than controlling access to confidential information. You need to ensure the data is available in the worst-case scenario. For example, in a criminal intrusion, vandalism, or a genuine disaster such as a fire, deluge, or earthquake, you can recover and back up your confidential patient data from an offsite backup and act much faster than you would otherwise.

The organization was dependent on a paper-based system. One of the primary reasons is redundancy and resilience. EHRs are stored on secure servers, often in multiple locations, so you can easily replicate and back up that data.

Additionally, electronic records can be routinely and automatically backed up offsite, making them much less susceptible to lose during catastrophic events. EHR systems also allow for version control and data recovery options, ensuring you can quickly retrieve previous patient records if any information is compromised or lost. So, you can get a detailed view of data backup comparison of paper records vs electronic records.

As you can see in this paper medical records vs electronic medical records blog, switching to electronic health records and information technology will give your organization more security and protection for your patients’ confidential data. With the help of medical and health industry data entry services, an EHR system can help you be more profitable while providing many other benefits, including increasing staff efficiency and reducing errors.

Palash RoyData Advisor
Data Advisor at AskDataEntry – India’s leading data entry and processing services provider for businesses and individuals. He is a seasoned data professional who is an expert in big data processing and enrichment.

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