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Beyond COVID-19: Data considerations when switching your EMR

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Duration: 3 min. read

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Technology & Innovation

Beyond COVID-19: Data considerations when switching your EMR

By Jennifer Marshall, Director, Technical Product Management, Healthcare Technology Analytics Solutions

This is the first article in a series on topics inspired by a focus group discussion among members of CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) about strategies used to adapt during the pandemic.

As the backbone of a hospital, the electronic medical record (EMR) contains critical patient data such as scheduling, registration, medications, diagnoses, treatment plans, and billing. Hospital and health system leaders shared challenges associated with switching their EMR. Replacing an existing EMR system can be costly and disruptive, presenting a range of operational and clinical considerations, including how to handle data.

While planning for the new software system, a move also provides the opportunity to evaluate the organization’s document management system (DMS). Consolidating can reduce the organizational and provider time necessary for document retrieval, while managing legacy documents and preserving the legal medical record. Migrating historical records to a DMS can help save the healthcare system money and allow the documents and data to be brought back to life as usable and accessible in the new systems.

Restructure workflows

Another document management area to consider is restructuring workflows and naming methods. Large health organizations need to maintain large quantities of patient, billing, legal, and other content, often decades old. This content is typically saved in various file types and systems, which can impede information flow and pose a security risk when not managed properly.

Process automation enables efficiencies to help lead your organization to improved patient outcomes and a healthier bottom line. Combined with a DMS built for the healthcare industry, hospitals and healthcare organizations are better able to:

  • Address critical IT priorities
  • Enable better patient experience
  • Improve workflow efficiency
  • Provide a faster return on investment
  • Automate routine tasks based on business rules
  • Streamline manual, paper-based processes

Automate your document retention policies

Healthcare organizations must remain legally compliant with document retention policies that govern patient records. State and federal laws, medical board and association policies, and the type of record (for example, an adult patient versus a pediatric patient) can impact how long to keep a medical record.

Effective document management can drive workforce efficiency, improve workflow for your hospital or health system, and streamline document retention. Watch for the next topic in this series, which will discuss security.

Page Published: 01-Sep-2021
Page Updated: 12-Apr-2022