Medical facilities record a lot of information in patient charts, laboratory results and billing information. Storing a patient's medical history in paper files has been the norm in various hospitals and GP surgeries. However, with the digital transformation in record keeping, many healthcare providers now embrace digital medical records storage due to its benefits. Read on to find out how digitised records promote greater safety and accountability.
What Are Digital Medical Records?
Medical records are vital in providing proper patient care and managing future ailments. The records include x-rays, printouts from medical tests, consent forms and verbal correspondence from an account of a patient's medical history. Unfortunately, storing these records on paper makes them impossible to access after some time. Many of them get lost during storage, or an attendant has to search for days to find the correct records if someone makes a filing mistake. You can also lose them entirely if fire or floods destroy the storage facility.
Storing the information in electronic form not only preserves it but also promotes the streamlining of medical operations. For instance, doctors can access the entire medical history of their patients within seconds through an internal system. This ease of access improves efficiency and allows doctors to provide the best care. Digital records are also secure from physical elements that can destroy paper documents.
How Digitising Records Promotes Their Safety
1) Use Of Encryption
Electronic storage is governed by privacy policies to keep personal information secure. Therefore, most digital medical records have inbuilt encryption to keep the information safe from prying eyes. When sharing patient records, end-to-end encryption will also ensure the safety of the information.
2) Access By Authorised Persons Only
With traditional paper record-keeping, it is easy for an unauthorised person to sneak into the storage room and access patients’ files. Besides, an employee can forget to file the records correctly, making them prone to third-party access. However, electronic systems require a password or biometric key (e.g. a fingerprint or retinal scan) to access a patient’s information. Doctors and healthcare providers can only access the records from a secure system. Instead of sending paper records through a courier, a doctor can share the documents securely through email or a cloud-based storage area.
3) Availability of Audit Trails
If you keep paper records, someone can vandalise a storage facility without leaving any trail. However, accessing digital files leaves a trail for identifying a data breach. Some storage systems notify the concerned parties and the Information Commissioner’s Office in case of unauthorised access to patient records. These safeguards minimise data breaches.
4) Availability of Back-Ups and Recovery Options
In case of a fire outbreak, paper records are not recoverable, which can paralyse your operations if you were relying on the information. However, electronic records always have data back-up to ensure you recover your records after a massive data breach. Also, the recovery process is fast, ensuring minimal disruptions.
Switching to paperless electronic records provides additional safety and increases the confidentiality of your patients’ records. If you want to digitise your medical records and keep them secure, CAS Ltd can scan your documents and store them electronically for easy access. Please send us a message, or call us directly to find out more.
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