If you work in data or the medical field, you probably know that EMR stands for Electronic Medical Record, and that EMR Conversion is the transfer of medical records from paper to electronic, or from one electronic record keeping system to another.
You probably also know that EMR Conversion can send shivers down the spine of the person in charge of the transfer.
The transfer of patient medical records from paper to electronic is time-consuming and complex, and no detail is too small or insignificant in the conversion. Paper medical records, which for some patients have been around for decades, contain vital and nuanced information about medical and pathology history. These records can also be hard to decipher assuming that notes to the file have been added by different people and that ink or transfers may have faded over time.
The good news is, electronic medical records can provide more comprehensive and accurate information for healthcare providers, and they can streamline the transfer of vital information between interested parties. Both these benefits add value to the patient experience and can improve diagnosis and treatment times.
How Did EMR Conversion Come About?
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was established by Congress under the Obama Administration as an economic stimulus for the country in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the collapse of US housing bubble. The Act, in part, states that in order to maintain reimbursement status for Medicare and Medicaid, both public and private healthcare providers have to “demonstrate meaningful use” of EMR no later than January 1, 2014.
This means that a healthcare provider that accepts government-sponsored insurance must comply with the regulation in order to receive payment for services. This means that most medical establishments have to begin to convert all of their patient records from paper to electronic media.
The Creation of EMR Jobs
Government mandates have one universally positive side effect – they create jobs. With the enactment of ARRA, an industry was born. The technological infrastructure required to convert millions of patient records spanning decades is significant. And the data entry related to the EMR conversion is equally vast. In 2012, Fortune Magazine identified EMR jobs as a hot new field with tremendous growth potential.
So what is an electronic medical record job anyway?
EMR jobs encompass everything from coding and programming to data entry. While many of the electronic medical records jobs revolve around data entry, there are many more positions in the field that require advanced education and training. An EMR conversion analyst job entails on-going analysis of EMR systems as well as helping to determine ways in which the systems can be improved or upgraded. In most organizations, an analyst position requires a Bachelor’s Degree in health information, business administration or information technology.
Client Services is another EMR job that also requires advanced education. Client service-related electronic medical records jobs interface between the end user and the company that provides the technology and software. They also play a critical role ensuring customer satisfaction and new business growth. Technology interface, as part of client services, ensures there is no service interruption or impact to the provider and patient.
The Process of EMR Conversion
Implementing electronic medical records can be a complex and time-consuming project. The process typically interrupts work-flow for a period of time, and can cause service interruption ns to patients as well as providers. Missing or inaccurate patient data can present serious challenges to doctors, and can also create dangerous situations when prescription medications are part of the treatment plan.
It is not uncommon for medical providers to hire additional staff to help with the conversion of records. This can include consultants to facilitate the process, as well as extra personnel to input patient data. However, once the conversion is complete the use of EMRs is much easier and more efficient for everyone. EMRs also make the information more portable, so if patients change doctors, hospital systems, or move to a different state, their records can be transferred with greater accuracy.
How Future Technology Will Impact Patient Records
Healthcare information technology is an important part of advancing patient care. The ongoing enhancements that are part of electronic medical records present the opportunity for medical professionals, technology professionals and patients to improve quality of care through accurate and efficient information sharing. EMRs allow for transparency in the service and treatment provided. Their use reduces errors and misdiagnosis, and fosters innovation through information.
Healthcare providers can now treat patients from mobile devices. Information access can save lives and provide a better quality of life to everyone involved. As technology advances, patient care may advance as well. And the need for qualified personnel to cultivate and manage the medical records of millions of people presents an area of growth in the economy.