Medical records management is the foundation of any solid healthcare practice.
Most people already know that medical records are essentially a road map of one’s medical history; but fewer people know just how records management works from day to day. The method and practice of managing the entirety of a healthcare practice’s operation is Medical record management.
Medical Data Management
Medical data management includes properly creating, scanning, filing, and storing patients’ records, as well as adhering to contemporary regulations and retention schedules in the process. In addition, medical records management consists of proper disposal of patient records beyond retention protocols. It aids in the professional administration of any given practice’s non-clinical information; such as contracts, accounting records, and other documents that fall more on the business end of a healthcare practice than on the medical end.
Medical Records Storage
Medical records have many storage options: paper files, as x-ray films, in folders, filing cabinets, on shelves, and digitally. Often, medical records are kept in both physical and digital form for the convenience of both patients and healthcare professionals. A simple web search will yield numerous types of services and software available for healthcare practices to utilize for effective medical record management. Electronic medical records management services are especially easy to find online. Issues worth taking into account when considering types of medical records storage include limited space for hard copies of medical records, as well as rising costs of paper and electronic storage devices.
Pitfalls and Red Flags in Medical Records Management
However medical records are stored, via any given management system, the effectiveness of that system can become compromised if careful medical records management is not a vital consideration of that healthcare provider. Beware of fuzzy policies and procedures when it comes to good medical records management. Medical records are always in a state of flux, whether they are being created, updated, preserved, or destroyed. It is critical that the healthcare professionals at the helms of medical records management remain dedicated, diligent, and professional at all times. Certainly, they must also stay up to date.
Benefits of Medical Records Management
First and foremost, medical records management provides a means for preserving, providing, and protecting patients’ medical history. On the business end, strong medical record management also helps reduce operating costs. Office efficiency grows with strong management, as does productivity. Solid medical records management can also help reduce the risk of litigation, as well as critically aid with audits.
Electronic medical records management, especially, proves beneficial for patients and healthcare providers, alike. It allows for quick and easy transfer of medical records between practitioners. This improves patient care, and reduces hospital stays. In addition, electronic medical records management facilitates business at a faster pace, reducing costs overall. Forgoing all the paper copies this requires saves a good deal of money, alone.
In addition to saving money, electronic medical records management requires far less space than traditional methods of the past, resulting in a more efficient use of space, and further savings.
Risks of Unmanaged Medical Records
The risks of unmanaged, or poorly managed, medical records could lead, unfortunately, to catastrophe. Vital information lost or destroyed with poor records management, puts patients’ lives on the line. Poor medical records management could also leave healthcare practices wide open to liability, fostering a negative public perception to say the least. Furthermore, without effective records management, outdated information may be kept on hand, cluttering up space, and taking up memory.
Medical records of some kind have been necessary since the dawn of medicine. Through the ages, various methods for storing and managing those records evolved. Without developing successful, efficient means for medical records management over the years, who knows? Perhaps we would not be here today.
Medical records management is essential to any successful healthcare practice. It might just save your life one day, or your practice.
Image: CC0 Public Domain vjohns1580 via Pixabay.