With Meaningful Use deadlines looming, the majority of Health Information Management Professionals are feeling the push to go paperless. If you haven’t already made the transition – or are in process right now, you can benefit from some lessons learned by some of the early trailblazers.
In celebration of HIP Week – and its theme of managing Health Information for Life – you can prepare for the transition from paper to pixels. Here are a few recommended strategies from healthcare providers that have successfully navigated the path to paperless:
- Define an Imaging Strategy: The ultimate goal of going paperless is to improve patient care by providing a consolidated view of the patient record. Health Information Managers can ease the paperless transition by prioritizing which records are needed first and most often for scanning.
- Leverage Offsite Records Storage: While it is HIP to be paperless, the reality is that there will paper records around for years to come. For records that are accessed infrequently, you are better off archiving to a secure, offsite storage facility. While the records are offsite, they don’t need to be out-of-reach; these paper records can be scanned on-demand within an agreed-upon timeframes.
- Establish Retention and Privacy Policies – and enforce them: You must comply with both state and federal retention policies – and these policies must be enforced for both paper and electronic files. In order to avoid a potential data breach, it is critical that you maintain a secure chain of custody across the lifecycle of your records – including imaging, storage, archival and retrieval. This chain-of-custody should apply to anyone within the organization – as well as any HIPAA-compliant external partners.
By leveraging some of these best practices, you can ease your transition to paperless and realize the full benefits of the EMR.
Looking for more guidance and examples? Check out the IDC White Paper : Moving from Paper to Electronic Health Records.