In as digital a world as the one we live in, it is still amazing that some continue to fall back and rely on paper record keeping. As any business owner who has been around for any length of time can tell you, paper records are cumbersome, paper records can be misplaces or destroyed, and paper records are an expense that people in the 21st Century can just no longer live with.
For doctors the need is even more present. Doctors need to be able to access information in an instant. Doctors have all the reason in the world to want to convert their antiquated, paper filing system to electronic medical records. Patients medical records need to be able to be accessed, no matter how old these records are. Patients medical information needs to be able to be shared if the patient falls ill while they or the doctor are away. And the patients medical records needs to be secured; not holed up in an off-site storage facility in some warehouse somewhere.
Medical Records Availability: Many patients have ailments, conditions, reactions, and complications which go back decades. What are medical records if they are not electronic? If they sit unable to be accessed, then what good are they? As a doctor trying to find paper records from 30 years ago can more than likely tell you, chances of finding these records in an expedient manner are slim. Far greater is the likelihood that these records are kept in an off-site location. For a doctor who needs the information on those records right now, this is challenging. Having electronic medical records is as easy as pulling up the patients file and poring over the earliest entries. Even if the patients file is on an external hard drive, the time it takes to get the patient signed in and seen by the doctor can be time where this file is retrieved and booted up for the doctor to have at his or her fingertips.
Medical Records Sharing: If a patient has a condition and they are away and fall ill, the doctors in the patients location need all of his or her information right away. Having electronic medical records able to be dispensed to another place where “what is medical records on paper” is no longer asked is essential.
Medical Records Billing: Another thing about medical records is the billing. No one likes to get paper bills in the 21st Century. A considerate doctor, who knows what their patients want, is a doctor who sits ahead of his competitors. Having medical records billing outsourced can make the whole office visit situation that much more pleasant. Having the staff making the patient feel more at ease before they come in to see the doctor will only make the doctor/patient experience that much more focused on fixing ailments and getting well. And that is what going to see the doctor is all about, right?
Doctors in the 21st Century have a choice to make about how they choose to deal with their patients. If they know what the patient wants, then the patients and the doctor will be able to work that much better together. However if the doctor or the staff are having to send out paper records to patients or looking for lost pieces from former visits, nobody wins. Patients just want to be seen and get well. If the patients records are for some reason lost, then everyone loses. Both patient and doctor for time spent not well and time spent digging up the past.