Simply going paperless is not always enough, however. Locking documents in one computer, or even one system of computers, can prevent important information from reaching the right people, and data losses and privacy breaches can be catastrophic. With the right document management software, however, all these problems can become a thing of the past.
Ready access to as much information about a patient’s medical history as possible is one of the fundamental requirements of good healthcare. Digital record keeping allows healthcare professionals to locate information about a patient’s history quickly and keep years’ worth of charts and notes in a centralized location. Keeping all the digital records in only one computer or computer system, however, is almost as limiting as hard copies of records if only one or two people can see them at a time.
Patients whose healthcare demands the attention of several specialists, such as diabetics and cancer patients, depend on collaboration among a team of doctors. Limiting digital storage to only one location can make collaboration between these doctors difficult, and patient care can suffer as a result. Sending copies digitally, however, can risk privacy breaches, and printing off hard copies defeats the purpose of going digital in the first place.
What medical offices need is a document management solution that allows records to be accessed from anywhere, by anyone with approval, at any time. This cuts down on costly delays, fosters collaboration, and gives doctors the precise information they need precisely when they need it. All the space-saving and long-term benefits of digital storage are coupled with maximum accessibility to eliminate the remaining shortcomings of a digital system.
Because of the nature of patient privacy requirements, medical offices looking for a digital document management system must be very careful to choose software that guarantees maximum security. A system that prioritizes document security will make sure that everyone who requires access to the material will have that access easily while also guaranteeing that patient records do not make it into the hands of those who may abuse them.
Medical offices should also take care to choose a system that has their particular needs in mind. Conforming to HIPAA regulations, for example, and allowing for integration with other applications such as word processors and bookkeeping tools is an important consideration.
Medical offices stand to benefit tremendously from the correct document management system. Once they have made the switch to the appropriate software, they are sure to enjoy the greater convenience and security that their new system provides.