3 Roadblocks to Installing Electronic Health Records (and How to Overcome Them)

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The difficulty of installing electronic health records is made more challenging by cost and security issues, but, luckily, there are ways around these issues.

Electronic health records take all the comprehensive patient information contained in traditional medical records and store them digitally. Many healthcare providers are making the switch to electronic record-keeping because it can help improve the quality of patient care, save providers and their staff valuable time, make it easier to identify patient needs and streamline care monitoring. When providers need to track data or determine which patients are due for preventative care, the information is at their fingertips rather than cumbersome physical files. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), use of electronic health record systems in medical office practices grew from 18 to 78 percent in the 12-year period ending with 2013. However, some providers have been slow to adopt electronic health records for a variety of reasons. Here are three of the most common roadblocks providers face:

1. High  Cost

Concern around pricing is one of the top issues with implementing electronic health record systems. Making the switch from physical to electronic records can cost thousands of dollars. While stimulus money can help, providers receive it in increments rather than lump-sum payments. This can prove troubling for practices of all sizes, but small and struggling practices may feel the pinch most. To do : Low-interest loans can help in some cases, as can fee-for-service software solutions and software companies that specifically target smaller practices.

2. Privacy

The potential for security breaches is of major concern for any type of digital data. If patient records end up in the wrong hands, risks include identity theft, financial loss and damaged credit. In addition, the practice involved may face litigation if it fails to keep its patients health data safe. To do : The solution here requires a combination approach, which includes choosing vendors that employ top-notch security, ensuring the proper training of all users, running background checks on all employees, monitoring the system, tracking access and performing regular system maintenance.

3. Poor Software Solutions

Ease of use and speed are key when it comes to electronic health record systems. When software solutions are not up to par or prove difficult to navigate, productivity suffers dramatically. Likewise, glitches in software solutions can lead to wasted staff time, lost data and resistance to usage. To do : Vetting applications based on ease of use and choosing solutions that offer fast, effective technical support can help. Likewise, solutions that offer single sign-ins for provide — rather than multiple sign-ins for various departments — save time and prevent frustration. Ongoing maintenance is also critical. Roadblocks to electronic health record installation do represent a significant challenge, especially for smaller or struggling practices. However, the benefits of installation typically outweigh these issues. Low-interest loans, a careful approach to privacy concerns and the right software solutions can make the advantages of electronic health record systems easier for practices of all sizes to attain.

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Nicole M.

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