Managing patient data is one of the most important tasks of patient care and general clinical practice. While paper records were once the gold standard, institutions have shifted toward electronic health records (EHR) and eConsent. Now, in a largely digital system, navigating paper records is cumbersome and stressful. Digitizing the process can reduce friction, improve productivity, and help patients feel comfortable.
Challenges of Paper-Based Health Records
The reality is that paper records are out in almost every way. Not only do patients expect hospitals and clinics to use modern technology to enhance care, so do governing bodies. While paper records offer limited benefits like low cost, they also present challenges.
One risk of paper-based practices is missing charts and consent forms, which can lead to costly delays. Informed consent helps both patients and hospitals manage risk, yet studies show that missing forms are a regular occurrence. According to one report, 66% of patients lacked consent before surgery, leading to a delay in 14% of treatments.
A manual paper process is also time-consuming and prone to errors. Illegible writing leads to mistakes, while physical data collection and storage increase staff workload. Integrations aren’t possible, so the billing department must manually enter data from a paper record into a separate system and risk duplication errors. These information and process silos slow down clinician workflow and cause disorganization.
Limited Security and Audit Capabilities
Paper records have major security drawbacks. While hospitals can incorporate file rooms with security personnel and key passes, this does very little to stop unauthorized access to patient information. Plus, the storage requirements alone are impractical.
Further, paper records make tracking chart additions, corrections, and reviews difficult. Even with a signature protocol, it’s easy to miss notes and edits, which can lead to serious errors.
Paper-based medical records are also non-compliant with CMS interoperability requirements. Hospitals can’t report on or comply with e-prescribing, information exchange, or patient data access without electronic systems. The result can be poor scores and steep payment penalties. Outside of CMS programs, paper records put hospitals at high risk of HIPAA violations, affecting consumer satisfaction or HCAHPS scores.
Benefits of Electronic Health Records (EHR) & e-Consent
Lawmakers have included EHRs in incentive programs as part of an overall attempt to improve communication between providers and patient outcomes. However, EHR and e-consent have several benefits.
Enhances Patient Care
Electronic health records keep patient information all in one place. With access to all the patient’s health and medical history, clinicians can make better decisions about patient care. Further, many software solutions come with built-in safeguards that help prevent adverse events in patient treatment.
With software integrations, clinicians can request or send patient data to other clinicians, e-prescribe medications, and file insurance claims from one system. Depending on the type of treatment, hospitals can also use EHR integrations for e-visits and remote monitoring. The result is faster, more effective care, and better patient outcomes. Most importantly, EHRs maintain a high standard of care even when patients return to their primary doctors.
E-record technology has security features that enhance patient privacy and provide an audit trail. Hospitals can assign permissions and limitations to each clinician and staff member. The software will then generate an audit trail each time someone views or edits a file, allowing hospitals to track authorized use or misuse of patient data.
Robust analytics and machine learning can also help hospitals understand trends and gaps in care and trends in claims and spending. With deeper insight, hospitals can see areas of high risk and build programs that reduce liability and drive better outcomes.
Promote Patient Engagement
Many EHR solutions also integrate with a patient portal, either as mobile applications or online dashboards. Patients can book appointments, retrieve their health records, access electronic referrals, and have prescriptions automatically sent to their pharmacy. They can also stay up to date on lab results and review care instructions, all of which help them stay engaged in their health.
Many portal integrations also often include an intuitive health library where patients can learn about symptoms, procedures, and other health topics. Options like bedside EHR tablets now integrate with patient portals, which are an upgrade to the old call button.
While in the hospital, patients can access these beside portals and read information or review their schedule or health information. They can also stay in touch with their care team and request help.
Workflow automation is perhaps one of the greatest features of intuitive EHR solutions. Automation is the electronic process of making information and tasks flow independently based on specific rules. So when a clinician inputs X, Y automatically occurs. For example, a physician orders a particular procedure, which triggers the consent process, and the system generates a form.
Reports suggest physicians spend an average of 16 minutes per patient interaction on charting, so a simple but effective process is critical. A set of triggers can help improve productivity and reduce clinician burnout. Rather than flipping through pages or clicking through endless screens, the workflow becomes organized with fewer stressful, repetitive tasks.
Let’s explore the possibilities together.
Tryten is ready and willing to help with your project, big or small, and our wide variety of platforms can support your medical & technology devices, telehealth expansion, or overhauls and more. Let us use our guidance to support you today.
How to Adopt Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and eConsent
The migration from paper to electronic medical records can take time. A few essential steps are necessary before you can roll out a new system.
Create a Roadmap
The first step is to create a plan. Start with a facility assessment and determine whether the hospital has the right infrastructure, education, training, and policy structure to adopt an EHR. Then identify the EHR functions the hospital needs.
Next, create a leadership committee to guide the adoption. The committee should include management executives involved in the planning decisions and staff advocates from each department that will use the EHR. The finance department should also set a budget for the project.
Build Infrastructure and Migrate Data
Next, build an infrastructure with the correct hardware, system security, data recovery, connectivity, equipment, and software. The infrastructure should be HIPAA compliant and meet cybersecurity standards.
Consider software and equipment that provide high-level yet user-friendly functions for both clinicians and patients. Mobile tablet carts with EHR-integrated solutions can simplify patient interactions. For example, Tryten’s eConsent Tablet cart, integrated with EPIC’s EHR solution, can bring consent and EHR right to the bedside.
After you have migrated vital data, the next step is to test the system and train clinicians. Create policies and procedures on appropriate use and review them with hospital staff. Then train staff on how to use the software and equipment. The move to a new system may be overwhelming for some, so focus on the key benefits. Demonstrate how the EMR will improve workflow and patient outcomes.
Launch and Review
Once testing and training are complete, go live with the new EMR. Most of the major issues should be fixed during testing, but expect some challenges. Staff should have enough training to manage minor breakdowns, but tech support should also be available.
After launch, provide ongoing training as new features and modules become available. Review feedback and analytics for trends and areas of improvement and adopt a goal for continuous improvement.
Digital Transformation With Tryten
EHR and eConsent streamline workflow and improve patient care and engagement, leading to better HCAHPS scores. While digital transformation may feel like a tall order, it can be seamless with the right partners. Tryten provides responsive, mobile equipment with EHR integrations for an upgraded patient and clinician experience. Contact us today.