It’s plain and simple – an EMR does your practice no good when large volumes of patient information don’t get entered into the system. I recently came across a story illustrating the workflow challenges healthcare organizations sometimes face after converting their paper files to EMR. It highlights that even when an EMR is available for use, many clinical staff professionals are still reverting to using paper documentation whenever they can – which is causing a problem for getting access to critical patient information.

According to an Army Office of the Surgeon General internal message obtained by NextGov, U.S. Army mental health care providers treating soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are not consistently entering patient data into the DoD’s AHLTA EMR system. Instead, they have been documenting mental health encounters on paper behavioral records. As a result, the Army has become “saturated” with paper records. According to report, the Army lacks a system to scan and code the paper records so they could be searchable and retrievable from the DOD’s EMR system. A fact that is not helping the situation.

I doubt the DoD is the only organization facing this problem. I mean, if you’re a clinician who has used paper records for decades, and somebody suddenly tells you to totally change your work habits, resistance is only natural. The problem lies with critical patient data living in too many places – half on the EMR and half in paper records. This has the potential to cause serious patient harm, especially if you are a clinician who started receiving messages from IT along the lines of, “We’re two weeks behind on scanning – figure it out yourself.”

The challenge with overcoming the change in work habits after converting to an EMR is having a system in place to import data from existing paper archives quickly. That’s where a third party provider like ScanSTAT Technologies can step in and help. ScanSTAT’s scanning services can eliminate the “two week lag” by scanning, indexing and archiving your charts onto your network drive or EMR system. While we can’t change your staff’s behavior, we can help you overcome the challenge of getting data into your EMR system and help you regain the access you need to critical patient data WHEN you need it. Start a conversation with us today to learn more about our expert scanning staff and services today.

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