More healthcare organizations are rapidly adopting electronic document management systems to better meet regulatory compliance, patient expectations and rising pressures to improve the quality of care on minimal budgets.
Hospitals & Health Networks Daily contributor Emily Friedman revealed that while 44 percent of claims were filed electronically in 2002, by 2011, 94 percent were. Additionally, she noted that by 2012, 80 percent of physicians had computerized provider order entry systems, at least for medications, and 73 percent were already engaged in electronic prescribing, according to the ONC. Still, fewer than half had adopted digital approaches to clinical decision support.
The benefits of these technologies are immense, according to Friedman. She noted that reducing the amount of labor needed to create and maintain paper records, as well as transfer that information to different locations, can greatly boost efficiency and lower costs. Additionally, more streamlined billing and reporting can save considerable time and money. And the savings are not only limited to dollars, either: Friedman pointed out that by eliminating errors in treatment, doctors could potentially save lives.
Digital drives accuracy
Friedman also pointed to the potential to enhance patient safety and quality of care in using digital technologies. She explained that the healthcare industry often still suffers mistakes, such as prescribing the wrong medications or dosages, which can cause devastating impact. But health IT can empower doctors to quickly identify suspicious trends, verify medication activity and catch errors before they cause any harm. Friedman noted that electronic systems can also detect mortality patterns and link them to specific providers, or identify fraudulent prescriptions that lead to stolen drugs.
Government Health IT also supported the assertion that healthcare organizations need to embrace new digital tools to support improved communication and collaboration between care teams. The source asserted that especially considering the consumerization of IT, which has brought new mobile devices into the healthcare environment, doctors have endless opportunities to take advantage of these technologies to improve care. The source stressed that coordination among teams is critical to successful patient treatment and preventing re-admissions. However, legacy systems lead to poor internal communications, which often causes delays and mistakes in care. Those errors then lead to longer patient stays, higher costs and wasted medical resources.
Electronic medical records have transformed the healthcare industry's ability to create a single repository of patient information. By embracing digital solutions to manage records, organizations are able to enhance insight and greatly improve decision-making.
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