Scan My Medical Records

an insider's look at digitizing medical records for physicians

Digital Distractions of Doctors

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With each new abundance comes a scarcity as a counterbalance.

This appears to be the message of a very well written commentary by Dennis W. Jirsch MD PHD, editor of the Alberta Medical Digest.

Dr. Jirsch points to the undeniable benefits that electronic medical records has brought to modern medical practice with its instantaneous access to labs, reports, historical patient data, and so forth – not to mention its eventual contribution to the fascinating area of big data and predictive medicine.  Yet, the patients’ lament of “He doesn’t stop looking at that screen” and “I wish he’d look at me” should not be ignored.  As well, when you factor in questions like “Who controls the information?”, “How do we ensure privacy?”, “How do we share it?”, one cannot help but think that perhaps we’ve negotiated a big benefit for a series of setbacks and challenges.

The biggest of the setbacks would appear to be the loss of depth.  In our never-ending search for the latest and hottest news, trends, messages, alerts, we have sacrificed the desire and ability to become an expert at anything, and instead we are all opting to become a little knowledgeable about everything.  Furthermore, is it really knowledge that we’re gaining in the end with the countless non-consequential emails that steal away precious time, the merging of legitimate web-sourced information with irrelevant and anecdotal nonsense, updates, etc.

Dr. Jirsch puts forth an important reminder to his medical colleagues that they must win the battle for attention.  A flickering screen should not always be more compelling that the patient stories.  Physicians must be mindful of the fact that there is a job at hand to do that is more important than getting lost in passive, irrelevant distraction.

Needless to say, this is an important lesson for us all.

Importance of Patient Involvement in Healthcare Data Security

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Is your patient medical data secure? This is a question doctors and other stakeholders must address as health records increasingly move online and patients embrace digital medical records, health-management apps and other electronic data tools.

While digital medical records boast many advantages — for instance, they’re a breeze to manage — the flip side is, they are also vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves.

Balancing the demand for improved patient control with healthcare data security.

Ironically, electronic medical data’s explosive growth (everything from genetic testing to wearable technologies that measure, transmit and assess health information) and the number of organizations possessing this data make it increasingly challenging to fully secure this information.

But before one gets overly worried about your health information being traded on the open market, bear in mind that in its former (and still current) paper format, this information was readily accessible by anyone who could access the paper.  At least in the digital format, there is typically a password that must be entered at some point for access.

The increased desire by patients to have a say in their healthcare management has certainly fueled the concern about healthcare data security.

Largely because of the Internet, patients are much better informed about their health and therefore expect to participate in decisions affecting their healthcare and that of their family.

Along those lines, the London, Ont.-based International Centre for Health Innovation at the Ivey School of Business at Western University has issued a report calling for a radical rethink of Canada’s health-services industry.

Calling for the health sector to learn from the financial services industry, which offers personalized services customized to people’s needs, the centre laid out a blueprint to modernize and personalize healthcare in Canada.

The report points to increasing evidence that individuals are ready to manage their own health and wellness and are actively seeking out strategies and tools to change the way they access health services.  Fear of security breaches has not stopped financial services from embracing technology, and nor should healthcare where the benefits outweigh the costs by a huge margin.

To that end, the Centre outlines several steps for healthcare providers to accelerate the “personalization” of systems, while not taking security issues lightly.

Among those steps: “Join the 21st Century and get digitally connected”… a clear message of not letting fear stop us from moving forward and reaping the benefits of a digitally connected healthcare system

Just make sure that when you do get digitally connected, you use a reputable company that will protect the integrity, safety and security of your patient electronic data.

Since 1997, RSRS has been Canada’s leading specialist in safe, secure medical-record storage. All RSRS employees must comply with our security requirements that include signing a deed of confidentiality at time of hiring. In addition, all new staff, regardless of their position, must obtain a police clearance report prior to commencing employment. Employees are trained with respect to privacy and confidentiality.

Call us today at 1-888-563-3732 or send RSRS an email.

How to Compliantly Scan Patient Medical Records

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So you’ve decided to join the medical revolution and go digital, converting your paper-based patient records to electronic format. Or maybe you’re seriously considering it.

Good call! Digital medical records offer benefits galore, such as greatly simplifying your admin process, since electronic files are so much easier to manage than paper. Plus, by ditching paper, you’ll free up all kinds of office space.

But be aware that scanning isn’t something that’s done casually or haphazardly. When converting paper files to digital medical records, you must follow proper processes.

Infographic explaining 10 step process of scanning medical files.

RSRS offers FREE 10 Step Guide: How to Scan Patient Medical Records

For instance, the Canadian Medical Protective Association — the authority on this issue — requires that the scanning process be carefully documented, to ensure paper records converted into electronic format meet evidentiary requirements.

As the CMPA’s Electronic Records Handbook clearly states, “Written procedures should be established and consistently followed for the conversion process (including a record of the type of conversion process used)…”

Don’t panic.  RSRS has you covered, with their FREE guide to compliant scanning of paper medical records.

Just introduced by RSRS, and written by their team of experts, this extremely useful tool walks you through the entire scanning process in 10 easy-to-follow steps.

The guide is exclusive to RSRS.  And it’s absolutely FREE!

To get your scanning guide and take the first step to converting your paper files to ultra-efficient digital medical records, visit  http://www.recordsolutions.ca/scanin10steps/

EMR Dramatically Improves Sepsis Rate at NY Hospital

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Increasingly, electronic medical records (EMR) are gaining a foothold in North America and enhancing patient care — sometimes dramatically.

For example, New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital reduced, by almost half, the number of patient deaths related to sepsis, through resourceful management of its EMR system.

As reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, sepsis, in 2011, was responsible for about half of all deaths at the hospital, an uncommonly high mortality rate relative to that at other U.S. academic medical centres.

An EMR can flag the potential warning signs of Sepsis.

In early 2012, Mount Sinai introduced, on eight floors, an early warning and response program, whereby the EMR system activates a red alert whenever staff enter vital signs in a patient’s chart that correspond to the conditions for early sepsis.

The alert triggers a bedside visit from a crew of specially trained nurse practitioners who assess the patient, request tests and, if needed, initiate treatment.

Result: In 2012, there were 77 fewer sepsis-related deaths, a 40-per-cent drop in the hospital’s sepsis mortality rate compared to 2011.

Similarly, EMR could potentially improve the quality of patient care everywhere, in so many yet-to-be-discovered ways.

The first step in fully converting your medical practice to EMR is to scan your paper-based medical records.

RSRS is a Canadian leader in document scanning. The professionals at RSRS convert all paper documents into instantly retrievable files stored on your computer server.

RSRS can handle your conversion needs, large and small, from pulling staples and preparing your documents, to indexing them and building your archive.

Call RSRS at 1-888-563-3732 or visit www.recordsolutions.ca.

MEDICAL-RECORD ACCESS EMPOWERS PATIENTS

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An emerging electronic revolution, known as eHealth, is poised to empower patients to take a more proactive role in managing their health.

As an example, Continuum Medical Care, a private clinic in West Vancouver, offers a service called Health eGateway, an online portal where patients sign-in to access their medical history, verify appointments and view prescriptions.

Health eGateway, for instance, allows patients to check their results (say, blood-sugars or cholesterol levels) after a test to see how the numbers compare to previous results.

If the latest numbers are higher, the patients would make appropriate changes to their health habits (improve diet and increase exercise).

In B.C., two digital systems are emerging: electronic medical records, used by family physicians, and electronic health records, province-wide databases for lab-test results, drug histories and diagnostic images.

The systems, however, aren’t fully linked, making it difficult for the healthcare system to share patient information among different providers.

But Health eGateway shifts the responsibility onto the patient, making them the gatekeepers of their information.

In a similar fashion, patients whose doctors keep paper records (still the standard format) can become proactive in managing their healthcare by securing a copy of their medical file.

A retiring or relocating physician, or the estate of a physician, may place the practice’s medical records with RSRS, one of Canada’s largest repositories of medical records. RSRS manages the secure transfer of records to patients, new physicians and authorized third parties.

By securing a copy of your medical history, you can…

  • Eliminate the need for duplicate tests;
  • Correct any errors that are present in your record
  • Quickly provide your health information to any physician, clinic or hospital, during a regular visit or in an emergency

If your physician is storing your medical record with RSRS, contact RSRS today at 1-888-563-3732 or visit www.getmymedrecord.ca.

 

THE PAYOFFS OF GOING PAPERLESS: ONE HOSPITAL’S SUCCESS STORY

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Increasingly, it’s becoming a digital world, with hospitals switching over to electronic medical records (EMR).

Going paperless brings a number of benefits (for example, it frees up office space previously used to store records).

Reaping a host of other, significant benefits is Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., whose surgical services department, in 2012, converted to EMR.

According to an article in Outpatient Surgery, the conversion required hard work and long hours, but paid off, big-time.

After assessing four systems using an 80-question matrix, the department chose a Windows-based EMR system that met all the objectives for the hospital, which features three surgical facilities housing eight operating rooms and a staff of 75.

So what did the surgical services department gain from the conversion? Precious time; more time with patients, less time documenting and less time gathering performance data, according to the article, which written by one of the hospital’s staff members.

Furthermore, the new EMR system provides all necessary documentation prompts, procedure cards and actionable data. It also tracks the department’s performance, manages the supply chain, interfaces with the billing department and facilitates patient throughput.

The march to go paperless accelerates.

Will your practice be left behind?

RSRS is a Canadian leader in document scanning. The professionals at RSRS convert paper documents of any shape or size into instantly retrievable files stored on your computer server.

We can handle your conversion needs, large and small, from pulling staples and preparing your documents, to indexing them and building your archive.

Call us at 1-888-563-3732 or visit our website.

 

 

Should Physicians Outsource Scanning?

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Management guru Tom Peters, best known for his book “In Search of Excellence,” (co-authored with Robert H. Waterman Jr.) once wrote “Do what you do best and outsource the rest!”

Tom Peters' latest book is "The Little BIG Things"

We like Peters’ philosophy! Of course, outsourcing any product or service is not a new idea. A few decades ago the main reason to outsource was to cut costs. As a result of the 80′s recession, many companies outsourced far too many of their services to external companies, probably far more than would be considered a good idea today. Today, the emphasis is on obtaining specific skill sets, reducing overhead, capitalizing on your own staffing needs, gaining efficiency, and reducing turnaround. This way, you can focus on your core function. Outsourcing is ideally suited to small offices and entrepreneurs and allows them the freedom to manage their day-to-day administration. Here are some paper-handling statistics provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Captaris. IOMA and Gartner:

The average organization:

  • Makes 19 copies of each document
  • Spends $20 in labor to file each document
  • Spends $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document
  • Loses 1 out of every 20 documents
  • Spends 25 hours recreating each lost document
  • Spends 400 hours per year searching for lost file

If you’re finding that even with an EMR in place, you’re still falling way behind in scanning of incoming paper, you’re not alone. We commonly hear from our clients that they’re still finding too many instances where the latest labs, consults, reports are not in the file by the time the patient returns.

If you’re considering outsourcing your scanning, we suggest that you research the markets and learn about the services available by doing your research. Ask your fellow physicians for recommendations. Ask vendors to offer you demonstrations or trial periods so that you may evaluate their service levels. Ask what kind of tech support they provide, and whether the transfer of patient information is secure. If you have a problem, how quickly can they help you?

Once you have a short-list of service providers, be sure to include all stakeholders in the final vendor decision. Scanning your files isn’t rocket science, but many projects fail because not all stakeholders were allowed input into the process. While you should be offered different options and pricing scenarios, do let the service provider suggest products such as scanners – some companies have invested in the latest capture technology and are in the best position to make suggestions to ensure that the scanner and software is compatible with your current technology.

RSRS offers Day-Forward Scanning for busy practices (PDF brochure). Think of us as an extension of your office. We receive your paper (delivered, faxed, or scanned, and moved securely to our server). We index the paper for your EMR and then upload the scans directly to your EMR in a manner which is consistent with your workflow. The result is quick turnaround, current patient records and much better patient care. It typically works out to be less expensive than hiring another employee.

Call RSRS today for a free consultation without obligation at 1-888-563-3732.

 

Medical Record Security: What Doctors Need to Know

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It may not always be top-of-mind for physicians, but guaranteeing the security of their patients’ medical records is crucial.

Medical Record Privacy

Tips for Securing Medical Records

The stakes are huge: physicians must safeguard patient privacy and ensure that their healthcare is never compromised by records that are accidentally destroyed (fire, flood, etc.) or go missing.

To properly secure and protect your records, follow these tips, courtesy of the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA):

  • Store paper records in restricted-access areas or in locked cabinets with limited access.
  • As electronic systems become more common, and the levels of healthcare providers increase and health networks proliferate, the chances of records going astray will increase dramatically.
  • Accordingly, information stored electronically should only be made accessible to your patients’ circle of care, or for other reasons, only where legally authorized or with patients’ explicit consent. Therefore, it’s a good idea to add log-on security features such as user identification and passwords.
  • Electronic records systems should also feature controls that restrict access based on the user’s role and responsibilities. A simple solution: install encryption technology on all computer systems and portable electronic devices (laptops, memory sticks, etc.) containing patient information.

Since 1997, RSRS has been Canada’s leading specialist in safe, secure medical-record storage. All RSRS employees must comply with security requirements that include signing a deed of confidentiality at time of hiring. In addition, all new staff, regardless of their position, must obtain a police clearance report prior to commencing employment. Employees are fully trained with respect to privacy and confidentiality.

Call RSRS today at 1-888-563-3732 or visit the RSRS Web site.

Here’s a province-by-province breakdown of medical-record security guidelines.

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Health Information Protection Act)

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec – Francais

Quebec – English

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Newfoundland / Labrador

P.E.I.

 

 

IMPROVED PATIENT EMR PRIVACY COMING TO ONTARIO?

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What a potential leap forward for patient privacy! In a progressive move, the Ontario government has introduced legislation to safeguard the security and privacy of electronic medical records (EMR).
In a nutshell, the legislation enables the sharing of EMR by healthcare providers within a patient’s circle of care.
If passed, the legislation would:
• Establish privacy and security requirements for shared EMR.
• Allow patients to mask their personal health information. For example, a patient could elect to withhold their personal health information from a specific hospital or healthcare provider.
• Clarify the rules under which healthcare providers may collect, use and disclose personal health information contained in the EMR.
• Support faster treatment and diagnosis decision-making and high-quality clinical care.
No question, EMR is, for patients, just about the greatest thing since sliced bread. Through the use of EMR, patients can better manage their health, receive faster diagnosis through lab results and diagnostic tests, and stay better informed about their health.
And if Ontario’s proposed legislation becomes law, it only enhances EMR’s many benefits.
Since 1997, RSRS has been a leader in records management, and can efficiently, safely and securely scan your paper records into EMR format.
We work closely with you to understand your paperless goals, and make recommendations based on our experience with clients in virtually every business and professional sector. Our staff is fully qualified for their specific duties and have all signed appropriate Non Disclosure Agreement forms, to ensure full data protection and confidentiality of our client materials.
Call us today at 1-888-563-3732 or visit our website.

B.C. Medical Results Theft Highlights Importance of Secured Paperless Records

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What a nightmare. As recently reported in The Province, personal information of approximately 16,000 patients of a medical-services lab in Kamloops, B.C., just…disappeared.

In January, LifeLabs sent the computer to its main office in Burnaby for servicing. But when the computer was returned, its hard drive was gone…nowhere to be found…AWOL.

Stored on the drive were electrocardiogram results collected from three local labs between 2007 and 2013.

LifeLabs’ president apologized and assured the affected patients that the missing data did not include any financial information “whatsoever” and did not provide the ability to access financial records or other financial-related information.

Small comfort to those whose medical information went missing…

This sort of security breach is inexcusable, and yet this sort of thing happens all of the time.
Taking the simple precaution of encrypting the data as per Dr. Ann Cavoukian’s, (Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner) recommendations, and further securing the laptop with username and password access, are two simple steps that should always be taken when transporting confidential and personal information such as medical lab results.

As a leader in confidential and secure medical record storage and scanning services since 1997, RSRS respects the standards for the safe movement of confidential information.  Our standards for security and privacy of information exceed that of many larger commercial storage centers, since we must also be compliant with the standards used for personal health information. Our storage and scanning facilities are approved to process sensitive
information.

Never lose sight of the fact that scanned records, when professionally rendered, are much easier to secure and control with respect to access than are paper records.

We can help you reduce a ton of paper and also free up lots of misused square footage by digitizing your documents.  We can make them fully searchable and securely place them onto DVD, USB, harddrive or server.  We can also help you with a custom document-management application.

Call RSRS at 1-888-563-3732 today for more information, or visit us on the Web at www.recordsolutions.ca