The amount of information that hospitals and practices need to deal with is enormous. The bigger the organization, the more the paperwork it needs to handle. These organizations are stipulated by law to store and maintain patients’ electronic health records for several years after the last visit.
Paperwork and formality like demographic information, medical history, prescribed treatments, tests, and results must be stored, managed, and retrieved. The traditional pen and paper method and manual entry and physical storage can’t keep up with the growing amount of information.
That’s where a medical document management system comes in handy. Such a system will digitize the entire medical documentation and paperwork process, thereby improving the productivity and efficiency of healthcare management.
How Does a Medical Document Management System Help?
1. Reduction in staffing
As the name says, a medical electronic document management system greatly reduces the sheer volume of physical paperwork. When activities like billing, patient data entry, and electronic data exchange can be done on an interactive dashboard, it automatically reduces the staffing needs. Healthcare providers and staff can fetch all the required information with a few clicks.
2. Increased Productivity
Routine manual activities like getting a bunch of papers, filling them out, storing and retrieving them chew into productivity. Moreover, the complicated nature of medical billing and coding makes it error-prone if done by pen and paper.
On the other hand, a medical document management software would empower a small staff to carry out medical records management, claims, billing, discharge, etc., from a keyboard: a sharp rise in administrative productivity. The benefits of electronic document management, when integrated into practice management software, improve the overall patient experience at smaller physician practices.
3. Patient Data Privacy
HIPAA compliant solutions for medical record management store patient data in a secure digital repository with controlled access. It reduces the chances of displacement and the possibility of unauthorized persons accessing it. Moreover, as healthcare organizations grow, a document management system increases the speed of workflows without compromising data privacy.
4. Simplified Records Handling
The traditional way of doing things often makes the medical management system inefficient and cumbersome. The entire process of entering patient information into the system, coupled with medical histories and data about current prescriptions and treatments, makes it difficult to track patient records and keep them up-to-date.
In light of this, patient records software streamlines the entire procedure of keeping records updated to reflect patients’ healthcare journey. Additionally, the healthcare interoperability of the medical records system allows providers to obtain patient health information faster, which directly impacts the quality of care delivered.
Must-Have Features of Medical Record Systems
Although a document management system must synchronize with the organizational workflows, there are some basic features that it can’t do without.
1. Efficient Search Options
As a healthcare organization grows, so does the volume of medical information it must handle. As a result, it becomes imperative to have a mode of searching for the required information. The patient record management system must be able to retrieve the data by taking in parameters relevant to each patient. Having such a feature in records management solutions makes it easy for providers to obtain health records, which improves clinical outcomes.
2. Multi-User Editing
This is an essential feature for any patient records software at hospitals or ambulatory clinics. It allows multiple healthcare professionals to access people’s healthcare documents simultaneously and update the required information. Having a multi-user editing feature in healthcare document management software improves operational efficiency. Additionally, it also helps enhance clinical collaboration, which enhances the quality of care.
Storage is something that’s bound to run out. Healthcare document management solutions that need to be installed on-premises must possess scalable storage capacity to accommodate growing data needs. But cloud computing in healthcare has made it possible for a patient records system to be hosted remotely, removing the need to invest in additional hardware for storage. Healthcare Cloud solutions offer variable storage as per changing needs. The best part – a cloud solution for EDM healthcare makes it possible for clinicians to access required data from personal devices.
A HIPAA-compliant health records management platform ensures end-to-end data security. This is an indispensable feature since missing, or corrupted patient data could adversely affect the quality of care. Comprehensive cybersecurity measures along with access restrictions are must-haves for medical document management systems
5. Integration With Third-Party Applications
Any healthcare technology needs to share data seamlessly with other medical applications. Comprehensive, integrated healthcare solutions include an EMR that can work with a patient engagement system, medical billing solutions, telehealth platform, or healthcare analytics solutions, which helps in clinical documentation. Software for electronic health records management that can integrate with different solutions empowers medical staff to accomplish multiple tasks from a single consolidated interface.
Steps To Develop A Medical Document Management System
Developing a medical document management system is an elaborate process. It requires a roadmap that includes understanding the requirement precisely and reflecting physical workflows digitally.
1. Formulate a Document Management Strategy
The first step in developing a medical records management software is to plan the digital workflows. In other words, understand the exact sequence of activities at an organization and finalize who needs to do what.
Scheduled appointments, accounts receivables, individual billing data, medical coding, filling out and submitting claims are activities that need planning. A sequence of procedures for doing these activities needs to be reflected in the electronic medical document management system software. Formulating a flowchart for the same could help in strategizing the development lifecycle.
2. Institute Usage Protocol
Patient data storage and retrieval, payment reminders, and generating invoices are among the procedures for which protocols need to be established. The development of document management healthcare solutions can begin only after procedures and protocols for document handling have been finalized.
Non-medical office administration at hospitals and clinics often needs to follow strict rules to remain compliant. Establishing protocols to govern workflow is crucial for medical records management software.
3. Train the Staff
The staff must be adequately trained to manage medical documents. Although healthcare automation would relieve the staff of repetitive tasks, they need to know their way around patient information management systems. Doing so minimizes the chance for errors, keeping operations running smoothly.
Staff training goes a long way in ensuring that billing activities get done quickly, ensuring stable revenues.
Implementing the clinical document management system is the last step in the development process. There are bound to be delayed as the staff would need to get used to working with it. But it is sure to improve productivity and maximize ROI.
5. Support and Maintenance
It is important to provide timely support and maintenance for the medical document management system from a developer’s perspective. Checks and updates ensure that it will function as needed without trouble.
Document management system in healthcare is vital for maintaining efficiency and smooth running of clinical activities. Moreover, it helps apply medical informatics to draw actionable insights into care and population health management. All of these benefits make it a must for ambulatory healthcare settings and hospitals to use a document management system. Knowing which features are necessary and creating a framework is vital if you’re building a platform to manage medical documentation. It helps to plan the lifecycle of development.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.