Important Healthcare Papers Lost in Hurricane Sandy
Doctors are legally required to keep patient records for seven years. The decision to keep them hard copy or electronically usually falls on the hospital group. But with the recent devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and the loss of many critical patient files, more and more Healthcare IT professionals will think twice about leaving patient files in the basement. For some hospitals, it will offer a valuable lesson on data storage logistics.
Ironically, it was seven years ago that Hurricane Katrina destroyed not only homes and lives, but an uncounted for number of healthcare records. And still many healthcare organizations have not digitized their records. Not only is it a failsafe to eliminate the risk of destroyed records, but also having access to those records at your fingertips is equally important. Once an electronic medical record (EMR) system is in place and staff is properly trained, retrieving patient records is substantially faster and fewer errors occur. This efficiency can result in an increase in scheduled visits per hour with no loss in patient care quality. Also, by reducing the burden of administrative work, it allows the heath care provider to concentrate more on the patient and less on the paperwork.
Another benefit of electronic medical records integration is that it can reduce administrative and other related costs for physicians. Storage space dedicated to paper charts can essentially be eliminated once the transition to EMR is complete. Likewise, the staffing for filing and retrieving patient files and the need to purchase paper based supplies is substantially reduced or eliminated.
You don’t need to live or work in a hurricane zone to be worried about your important records. A variety of natural disasters can threaten your paper documents. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
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