The Importance of Keeping a Digital Patient File

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doctor reviewing data

There are many reasons for keeping a hard copy of anything. It allows you to verify patient records, gives you information that doctors or nurses didn’t have time to log in the database, and is often the most common way to access medical records in many medical facilities around the world. However, this isn’t the only way.

Electronic health records (or digital patient files) are a new way to store, access, and distribute patient records—an essential part of any healthcare service. While this can be provided by any company that provides healthcare IT services, the implementation is quite different from just getting the system installed. Find out why you should start keeping EHR’s learn why this will be difficult.

Cost

One of the biggest barriers to adopting an all-digital approach to patient files is the cost. Most medical facilities will either have their budget locked behind more essential purchases for their facilities, or will find it difficult to secure the funding required. This not only pertains to the system itself, but also the training, upkeep, and maintenance required to make sure this system remains functional.

However, the cost is also the biggest factor as to why EHRs are a necessary addition to any medical facility. There’s a lot of lost time and wasted resources that are spent on just retrieving patient files, and the perishable nature of these documents (alongside antiquated sorting methods) results in a net loss for the facility that will only increase over time.

Efficiency

doctor using laptop

Another reason it can be extremely useful to keep EHRs is that it allows for faster processing of patients and their data, a necessity if they’re admitted for life-threatening complications. The value of immediately knowing a patient’s medical history without the need to go through the rigamarole of looking for them can mean the difference between life and death.

Digitizing records also allows the usual resources required to go through them to be allocated to more important tasks. A surprising amount of time is spent by doctors or nurses on legwork going through a medical facility’s files—digitizing them can free up their time and efforts to the more essential and meaningful operations in the area.

Accessibility

Finally, EHRs provide a solution to one of the most persistent problems healthcare has ever faced: accessibility of records. While it’s reasonable to assume that a patient will stay in a certain area for the majority of their lives, thus making their medical records more accessible, it’s possible that those records can be lost or fuddled depending on the circumstances under which they were stored. This can be crucial when it comes to tracing illnesses that manifest in an adult’s life, which can be traced back to infancy.

EHRs can help with this process by making sure a person’s medical files are stored in one convenient location that can be easily accessed from almost anywhere in the world and with the right credentials. This helps hospitals make more accurate diagnoses, administer treatment even if the patient has never been in their facility, and otherwise be privy to crucial information that would’ve otherwise taken weeks to obtain.