It's happening...slowly! Although the Federal Government has enacted legislation providing physicians with incentives to implement EMR technology and penalties for those who do not by 2015, today only six percent of U.S. physicians use a fully functioning system. Why?
For one, Enterprise Electronic Medical Records systems require physicians and their staff to change the way they accumulate, track, store and retrieve patient medical information. These systems require physicians and staff to leverage laptops, notepads, PC's and other electronic devices to capture and update all patient related data. In short, it changes the way the health care professional delivers medical care, and with all change comes resistance.
DMI, Document management and imaging is a tool that helps bridge a totally paper based solution to a full EMR. Through the use of scanning technology, healthcare organizations can change very little regarding how care is provided, while taking advantage of organizing, securing, protecting and sharing vital patient data.
Paper documents associated with the patient chart are scanned and indexed with metadata specific to that patient, for instance, patient id. #, social security number, last name, first name and date of birth. The electronic chart can be housed on an internal server or hosted through a secure Web site. Physicians and staff that have the proper security can access the data from any computer or device, thus eliminating the need to have the paper chart. Organizations that have multiple locations can share the information and there is no longer a need to maintain file cabinets full of paper charts or even an offsite location specific to storing patient charts.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of starting the shift to EMR with a DMI solution lies in overcoming the resistance of Physicians and staff. While paper documents and forms are still used in the delivery of care, the history and management of the ongoing data is handled electronically, resulting in a more cost effective, efficient process, helping to vastly improve the level of patient care.