• How do I transition from paper to EMR?
  • EMR data storage
  • Conversion of paper records to EMR
  • How Ambula can save the day

Are you asking yourself what should I do with the paper records after converting them to EMR? In fact, you might want to dispose of the papers or keep them for reference. Actually, there’s a way for both ways. Practically, make sure to clearly communicate and document your expectations from the staff.

To make it happen, you can use notices and reminders to ensure your staff doesn’t add new patient’s information to the paper records. However, if you go the other way, you can dispose of paper records in several manners. These methods include burning, shredding, pulverizing, or pulping. Naturally, these are the methods to make your papers undecipherable and unreadable without any possibility for reconstruction.

 How do I transition from paper to EMR?

How do I transition from paper to EMR?

Are you considering how do I transition from paper to EMR? Not many seconds ago, we answered your question: What should I do with the paper records after converting them to EMR.

Yet, not many years ago, paper records were everywhere. Back then, when a patient comes in, staff would rush to the back and search the history of paper records. But not anymore. Transitioning to EMR can look hard, but why EMR is important remains worth it.

In terms of transitioning to EMR from paper medical records, you’ll have to go through some obstacles. Namely, the absence of a user-friendly platform, implementation costs, training, and preparation. It is crucial to consider your paper records when choosing an EMR.

Basically, learn your requirements and what you aim for before making your decisions. In fact, planning will help you manage your short-term and long-term targets for a smooth transition. You need to:

Build a plan

try to include staff from every department in your facility to guarantee a successful transition. When you get input from varying roles holders, you won’t miss anything. Preferably engage heads of departments to make sure privacy is maintained. Finally, remember to assess your time frame including possible hiccups.

Keep your practice in consideration

now, you’re convinced who’s the winner in the battle of paper-based vs electronic medical records. Then, you can assess your practice size, how you scan documents, and other fields. Following this match your assessment with your transition period, budget, and conversion method. For example, you can choose scanning images or documents or back-entering data from paper.

Record Retention and Destruction

Record Retention and Destruction

With the transition to electronic medical records (EMRs), healthcare providers face the challenge of managing vast troves of paper records that still hold valuable patient information. While the benefits of EMRs are undeniable, the question of how long to retain paper records and how to dispose of them when no longer needed remains a critical consideration.

Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Healthcare providers must adhere to strict legal and regulatory requirements regarding the retention and destruction of paper medical records. These requirements vary depending on jurisdiction but generally mandate that records be retained for a minimum period, often ranging from six to ten years. The specific retention period may depend on factors such as the patient’s age, the type of care provided, and the applicable statute of limitations.

Methods of Destruction

Once the retention period has expired, paper records must be destroyed in a secure manner that ensures compliance with privacy and security regulations. Shredding is the most common method of destruction, as it renders records unreadable and prevents unauthorized access to sensitive patient information. Other secure destruction methods include incineration and pulping.

Importance of Proper Procedures

Importance of Proper Procedures

Proper record retention and destruction procedures are essential to protect patient confidentiality and prevent potential legal or regulatory repercussions. Healthcare organizations must establish clear policies and procedures for handling paper records, including regular reviews of retention schedules and implementing secure destruction methods that meet regulatory standards.

Failure to adhere to proper record retention and destruction procedures can lead to serious consequences, including:

  • Breaches of patient confidentiality: Improper disposal of records could allow unauthorized individuals to access sensitive patient information, potentially leading to identity theft, fraud, or reputational damage.
  • Regulatory non-compliance: Failure to meet legal and regulatory requirements for record retention and destruction could result in fines, penalties, or even criminal charges.
  • Legal liability: Destruction of records before the end of the retention period could expose healthcare organizations to legal liability in the event of malpractice lawsuits or other legal proceedings.

By implementing comprehensive record retention and destruction procedures, healthcare providers can safeguard patient confidentiality, ensure compliance with regulations, and minimize the risk of legal liability. These procedures should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in laws and regulations.

4- Perseverant training

Record Security and Privacy

In the wake of the digital age, the protection of patient records has become a paramount concern for healthcare providers. While the transition to electronic medical records (EMRs) has brought about significant advancements in patient care and operational efficiency, it has also heightened the need for robust security measures to safeguard sensitive medical information. Paper records, even after conversion, remain vulnerable to unauthorized access, loss, or destruction, and healthcare organizations must adopt comprehensive security strategies to protect this vital data.

Protecting Paper Records

The security of paper records requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses physical and administrative safeguards. Physical safeguards involve restricting access to storage facilities, implementing secure disposal procedures, and employing fire suppression systems to prevent damage or destruction. Administrative safeguards include establishing clear record-handling protocols, educating staff on privacy regulations, and implementing access control measures to prevent unauthorized viewing or removal of records.

Regular Security Audits

Regular security audits play a crucial role in identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities in record security protocols. These audits should be conducted at least annually, or more frequently if necessary, by qualified IT security professionals. Audits should assess the effectiveness of physical and administrative safeguards, evaluate the security of storage facilities, and identify any gaps in access control procedures or data encryption mechanisms.

Compliance with Privacy Regulations

Healthcare providers must adhere to strict privacy regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States, to protect patient confidentiality. These regulations mandate the implementation of appropriate safeguards to prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of protected health information (PHI). Regular training of staff on privacy regulations is essential to ensure compliance and minimize the risk of privacy breaches.

The Ongoing Challenge of Record Security

The security of patient records, both paper and electronic, remains an ongoing challenge for healthcare providers. As technology evolves and the threat landscape expands, organizations must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect sensitive medical information. By implementing comprehensive security strategies, conducting regular audits, and staying informed about evolving privacy regulations, healthcare providers can safeguard patient records and maintain the trust of their patients.

EMR data storage

The EMR data storage happens smoothly as it doesn’t take any office space. On the other hand, it still needs to manage backups internally. Consequently, the costs for backup storage may be expensive when first considered. Keep in mind that there are a lot of hidden and obvious costs of doing the task independently.

Logically, these include making continuous investments in your storage capacity. Replacing the tools regularly is expected for hardware that has a 5-year life span. This is why you might want to consider a third-party. Undoubtedly, professionals in the field will introduce Multiple methods to store your paper records with an EMR and then you can ask What should I do with the paper records after converting them to EMR?

Conversion of paper records to EMR

Conversion of paper records to EMR is the obvious subject after: What should I do with the paper records after converting them to EMR? Meaning, How do you send your papers to the cloud? There are many ways you can convert your paper records to EMR. Solely, your choice will depend on your practice study. Behold the potential ways to do it:

  • Scanning paper charts into the EMR (kindly, note that this requires a skilled employee)
  • Partially scanning the paper charts into the EMR (only what is due in the next two weeks and progressively)
  • Uploading by scanning each patient’s summary page into the EMR
  • Storing paper records on a separate server and connecting the EMR
  • Storing paper records in storage facility & start new with EMR
  • Hiring a third party to scan the charts into the EMR (avoid scanning old information into the EMR)

Record Storage and Accessibility

After converting paper records to electronic medical records (EMRs), healthcare providers must decide how to store the physical records. There are two main options: offsite storage facilities or secure in-house storage.

Offsite Storage Facilities

Offsite storage facilities offer several advantages, including:

  • Security: Offsite facilities typically have more stringent security measures than in-house storage, such as 24/7 surveillance and access control systems.
  • Environmental Control: Offsite facilities can provide optimal environmental conditions for storing paper records, such as controlled temperature and humidity levels.
  • Disaster Recovery: Offsite facilities are often located in areas less prone to natural disasters, such as floods or fires.

However, offsite storage also has some drawbacks, such as:

  • Cost: Offsite storage can be more expensive than in-house storage.
  • Access: Retrieving records from offsite storage can take more time than accessing in-house records.

Secure In-House Storage

Secure in-house storage is a more cost-effective option, but it requires careful planning and implementation. Healthcare providers must ensure that their in-house storage facilities meet the following criteria:

  • Security: In-house storage facilities should have limited access, secure locks, and fire suppression systems.
  • Environmental Control: In-house storage facilities should maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels to prevent damage to paper records.
  • Disaster Recovery: Healthcare providers should have a plan for protecting in-house records from disasters, such as backing up records electronically or storing them in a secure location away from the main facility.

Establishing a Clear Record Storage System

Regardless of whether records are stored offsite or in-house, it is crucial to establish a clear record storage system. This system should include:

  • A comprehensive indexing system: Records should be indexed by patient name, medical record number, or other relevant identifiers.
  • A consistent filing system: Records should be filed in a consistent manner, such as by date or alphabetically.
  • Regular maintenance: Records should be inspected regularly for damage and pests.

Regular Inventory and Auditing

Regular inventory and auditing are essential to ensure the integrity and preservation of stored paper records. Inventory involves physically counting records to ensure that none are missing. Auditing involves inspecting records for accuracy and completeness.

Inventory and auditing should be conducted at least annually, or more frequently if necessary. Records that are found to be missing or damaged should be investigated and replaced or repaired.

By implementing proper record storage and accessibility practices, healthcare providers can ensure that their paper records are secure, accessible, and well-preserved.

Finally, have you heard of How Ambula can save the day? Previously, we’ve established that hiring a third party will cost you less money, time, and effort. We understand the race towards implementing EMRs is stronger than ever.

This is why we, at Ambula, provide you with customized plans to transition smoothly towards EMRs. Excellently, our simple and efficient strategies will ease your way towards EMR. Undeniably, our software will put a smile on every person’s face in your practice.

Automate now and reduce your time, effort, and money consumption. Ambula is trusted by leading companies in the healthcare world. We can boost your managerial skills to a faster advanced and tech-friendly environment. Our staff is ready to help you take the leap. What are you waiting for? Still, wondering What should I do with the paper records after converting them to EMR?

If you would like to get fully informed about our services, you can communicate with our Ambula Healthcare team: (818) 308-4108! And now check out Is an EMR system worth it for surgery centers?

Published On: March 13th, 2024Categories: Healthcare EMR Software

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