Healthcare and medical providers have been shifting to digitalized software record keeping rapidly across the globe. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 73% of medical providers have registered themselves with incentive programs for Electronic health records making it roughly more than 400,000 health practices.
As more and more healthcare organizations switch to EHRs from traditional paper records, a lot of problems with electronic health records may arise that can cause potential issues in streaming a steady and smooth revenue cycle.
Some of the most common problems with electronic health records can be the training of the staff, security issues, reduction in the flow of data, cost of the EHR software, etc. It is up to the healthcare organization to deal with these issues and come up with solutions to make the system problem-free and efficient.
Here are a few problems with electronic health records that an organization needs to address and find a solution also so that the realistic goals of an organization are accomplished on time.
What are the common problems with electronic health records?
Electronic health records are used by both patients and physicians and it assists both. As the system is foolproof and it makes the record compilation easier and more efficient. Still, there are some common problems with electronic health records which need to be rectified. Have a look:
Security threat to data
Electronic health records are a tempting commodity for hackers. Organizations that have switched to Electronic health records need to safeguard the patient’s data and information from getting into the hands of hackers for potential malicious use.
According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the healthcare organization may face lawsuits if the patient’s data is compromised.
Another potential threat to the data is that it gets into the hands of the hackers and they use the data as a hostage to get ransom from the organization.
To stay on the edge, a medical organization must have installed antivirus and other software to protect the records of the patients and ensure their security. Auditing the organization’s records and data by a third party will also help enormously in protecting the electronic system.
It is important to find out the potential risk beforehand and after rectifying it, switch the records of the patient to the EHR.
Extensive training of the staff
When the records are transited to digital format from the traditional paper records – it increases the workload automatically. When you have to swap all the records to the electronic healthcare record system then you need to train the staff to work on the digital platform.
A positive approach towards handling this problem is to let the staff undergo extensive training beforehand. This will save time as well as make the organization efficient in a short span of time.
Once the selective group of staff is completely trained, they can further train the team with techniques and tricks that they would’ve learned in the training session.
Set up the EHR and see how well the trained staff has gotten accustomed to it and how well they have grasped the techniques and tricks to know how efficient the organization will be in recording the patient’s data in digital format.
The cost of EHR
EHRs are expensive – both in terms of usage and implementation. As technology becomes an integral part of the healthcare industry, EHRs become inevitable.
The software of EHR is expensive to be implemented and incorporated into a healthcare organization. A rough estimate suggests that the implementation cost of an EHR system is somewhere between $15,000 and $70,000.
The installation of the EHR can be divided into 5 separate steps. The steps are
- Software cost
- Setup of the hardware
- Implementation procedure
- Training of the staff
- Maintenance of the network
The EHR makes a dent in the pocket when it comes to training the staff, supporting the available hardware with the latest technology, and the amalgamation of the EHR into the already existing infrastructure.
It becomes a financial burden for healthcare practices, especially the small clinics. Therefore, it is very important to assess the financial condition before implementing the EHRs in the organization because a healthcare organization might not be able to sustain the electronic health record software if the cash flow is having hiccups or if it’s slow.
It can be a painstaking job to get adapted to the electronic health records software. The physicians might struggle to fit into the new digital system of record keeping.
Another problem that might arise is that the doctor cannot adapt to the EHR system that is implemented in the medical practice. For instance, the EHR system for a cardiologist’s practice will be different from that of a dentist and so on. This will limit the ability of the doctor to perform and adaptability issues will continue to arise causing a delay in the workflow as well as the revenue generation.
It is expected from an EHR system to start delivering results immediately after getting implemented in the system but that might not be the case if there is a communication gap between the IT officials and the healthcare practitioner.
After the implementation of EHR, it becomes a continuous process of interaction between the IT personnel and the healthcare providers. It is very important that the issues and problems are addressed immediately and the IT vendor designs such methods that will solve the issues effectively.
If there is a communication gap between the IT vendor and the physician then the problem will persist and the system will lose its effectiveness eventually.
How to solve problems with Electronic Health Records (EHR)
Health experts and IT vendors have come together with solutions for the most occurring problems with electronic health records as it is the need of time because majority of the hospitals’ and healthcare organizations have started to adopt electronic health records.
Here are a few ways by which you can solve the problems with electronic health records,
Planning a strategy
When you have decided to install an EHR in your organization, it is very important to create a strategy beforehand about how you will take the organization forward after implementing the EHR.
You need to take your team members, physicians, paramedical staff, and everyone else in confidence and discuss the changes that are mandatory to occur once EHR takes over the data recording system.
Ensure that you have assigned tasks and jobs to your team and have already prepared backup plans. During this process, it might be possible that the productivity of the healthcare practice might deviate a bit, the workload increases and this might cause hindrance in dealing with patients smoothly. But all of this is necessary so that there are no or minimal problems once the EHR is completely adopted.
Prepare the schedule
If you want the EHR to be implemented successfully then you need to prepare a schedule beforehand to maintain certain standards to have the organization gain productivity.
Develop a certain deadline so that all the workload is aligned and delay does not take place. You need to discuss the schedule with your team so that everyone is on the same page and can amalgamate with the EHR effectively.
Smooth training possess
EHR is installed in a system to improve its efficiency and effectiveness. To ensure that it does assist the system it is important to provide training to the staff beforehand so that they understand the system and use different conventional ways of implementing the EHR.
There is always room for improvement and that can be done when a comprehensive approach is adopted and learnt in the training process.
After the training process, it is important to recognize the most efficient employees and appreciate them for achieving the set objectives and their contribution towards making the EHR effective after the implementation.
Collab with experts
Collab with experts or take help from specialists who are already familiar with the EHR system and can guide in managing the workflow as well as the implementation of EHR successfully.
Experts give an insight into how the dynamics of EHR work and how to strategize your workflow according to the newly installed EHR.
Electronic health records are becoming essential for healthcare organizations rapidly. The benefits of EHR surpass the disadvantages of the system and it is known to be a user-friendly system which is benefitting patients and physicians both simultaneously.
However, like everything else in the world, EHR also has cons attached to it, and to avoid them it is necessary that the medical organization properly strategies its technique regarding how to implement the EHR software in its system.
The EHR has to be completely adaptable to the organization’s system, workflow, and revenue generation in order to produce an efficient system that is user-friendly as well as compatible with all the features of the medical and healthcare industry.