Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are much easier to keep than hard copy records. Plus HIPAA is requiring compliance by 2015. They’re safer, easier to read, easier to store, and easier to move from specialist to specialist. They can save a lot of paper and therefore trees. You will have more room in the office, once storage cabinets are gone. And you will meet the US government’s 2015 mandate for all medical establishments to switch to electronic record keeping.
Complications can arise in getting records online, however, especially if the switch is not thought through. Here are some key considerations to take into account.
Electronic Medical Records Budgeting Time and Costs
It’s crucial to carefully budget both money and time when making the switch. You’ll need to decide whether to handle your electronic medical records yourself or trust to an online provider to store them. For doing it yourself (DIY) storage, you will need to purchase a high quality scanner (or pay for scanning services) and your own server and software. Your budget should include:
- one-time and hidden costs (installation fees and higher electric bills)
- training costs
- salaries for those who will monitor the transfer, or scan and enter data
- storage fee (if you use an online storage provider, they will most likely charge a monthly fee)
- shredding of old medical records or offsite storage costs
Handling Hard Copy Remnants
The HIPAA law requires that all medical files or documents with sensitive patient information be stored in a locked storage unit or shredded. Ideally, you will want few hard copy files left. Storing them offsite will give your office more space, but the unit must be secure. For shredding the rest, you will need to choose what to shred, and identify a company you can trust to do the shredding thoroughly and confidentially.
Sergeant Shredder not only shreds documents to high-standard military specifications, but also recycles the remains – millions of pounds of paper per year.