Healthcare providers spend thousands of dollars each year storing and managing their patient records–both in digital and paper form–and costs are only expected to rise in the future. To help reduce these costs, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides Medicare reimbursement incentives. record keeping
However, to continue to receive their existing reimbursements, the law requires healthcare providers to implement an electronic medical records (EMR) system by January 1, 2014. Failure to demonstrate “meaningful use” by the EMR deadline will result in a 1 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursements in 2015, with penalties expected to increase in coming years.
With the deadline quickly approaching, it’s critical for healthcare providers to quickly and effectively make the move to an EMR system. Medical offices in the local area can get help from a professional records management company with experience managing the transition to electronic medical records.
The Challenge of Electronic Medical Records
There is a lot of pressure for a medical office to have rapid access to its records, which is why most store them on-site. With the government reimbursement incentives in place, more medical offices are taking the steps to eliminate paper records and adopt an electronic medical records system. Unfortunately, making the transition is not a simple process for most medical offices. They must:
• Manage inconsistencies found in common paper filing systems
• Waste time, resources, and money to have employees handle document scanning
• Implement a workflow system that can adapt to both paper and digital medical records
• Provide fast and easy access to records
• Safeguard records being handled in large volumes
Accomplishing all of this quickly, securely, and affordably, not to mention ensuring compliance with HIPAA, is a huge challenge for most healthcare providers. Fortunately, a professional records management service can streamline the entire electronic medical records process so providers can focus on caring for patients.
Bridging the Gap Between Paper and Electronic Medical Records
Regardless of when a medical office starts the transition to electronic records, a hybrid storage system of paper and electronic records will be used for some time. The transition is not something that can be done overnight but, with the deadline quickly approaching, medical offices need to work as fast as possible to meet the EMR guidelines to receive their incentives.
Professional records management companies help bridge the gap between paper and electronic medical records, simplifying and expediting the transition process. They assist with digitizing patient files, creating an accurate archiving system, and protecting medical records from damage due to a natural disaster or theft. Medical offices that use a medical records management professional can also take advantage of its additional services, including safe and green destruction of paper medical record