Significant strides have been made by medical facilities in the U.S. to improve the quality, speed, accuracy and interoperability of care by deploying digital healthcare practices such as electronic medical records, electronic billing and eprescribing software.
The benefits afforded through these technologies are widely recognized. For example, according to a recent study conducted by Anoto Group – an organization that has developed "digital pen and paper" technology that transmits handwritten text and images into electronic form – 90 percent of polled respondents who are in some stage of EMR development believe the technology improves patient care outcomes.
However, though facility managers are understanding the gains presented by EMR, the study – which analyzed data from a variety of healthcare professionals – found that the medical community has a long way to go before achieving paperless operations.
In fact, nearly 80 percent of the polled respondents reported that paper records are still being utilized even though an EMR system has been implemented.
Furthermore, more than 60 percent of the respondents stated that even with an EMR system in place, between 25 and 75 percent of their time is still being devoted to processing paperwork.
Interestingly, one of the primary reasons cited for extended paper document use is that paper analysis is too embedded in the practice's culture to change. Further, respondents mentioned that the cost of the technology itself as well as the cost to care delivery during the transitional period presented barriers to a completely digital infrastructure.
In order to address these issues, it would greatly benefit small medical facility managers to partner with a certified medical technology consulting firm. By hiring with these professionals, a practice can optimize its internal digital metrics to qualify for large federal incentive dollars that will ease the cost-burden of initial implementation.
And by providing thorough staff training initiatives, medical tech consultants can help ensure that care is not diminished while employees learn how to navigate the electronic system.
Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.