Scan My Medical Records

an insider's look at digitizing medical records for physicians

Great Expectations – Patients Want More Innovative Access to Their Health Records

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Servicing customers is a basic tenet in any business – most businesses want to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction possible.  Customer satisfaction is driven by the ease of access to information.  If information is not available,
the customer,  in this case – the patient,  is not served efficiently.   Open access to information on the internet has reset public expectations about the accessibility of information.   Patients have also transitioned into very internet savvy customers – they can look up their symptoms in medical databases on the internet and are capable of diagnosing their health problems with a great degree of accuracy.  Therefore, when the patient arrives at the doctor’s office,  they expect the doctor to quickly access their health information and that that information will be up-to-date.  Consistent with those expectations,  patients believe that electronic health records are essential for the delivery of high-quality care.  And doctors must strive to meet those expectations by maintaining a well-equipped clinic,  which includes the latest technological advances.

Patients have come to realize that their footprints are no longer restricted to a single file in one doctor’s office.  Many patients have a need for their health record to be accessible by more than one medical professional,  including emergency personnel.  And patients may be more compliant with their treatment if they can access a patient portal and participate more actively in their continuing care.  Patient portals provide a secure platform for communicating with other medical professionals who may be located in other geographic areas.  With more participatory treatment,  patients have the opportunity to correct errors and review their medical history – vaccinations,  lab results,  illnesses,  at their convenience.

There is no doubt that technology has improved the quality and duration of life.  Medicine,  as with any other profession,  must evolve to meet society’s expectations.  Scientific advances and the use of EMRs mean that the doctor’s role is changing rapidly.

Document management is for ALL businesses,  not just large corporations. The advent of the EMR helps doctors help their patients.  RSRS can help doctors capture paper-based patient history and index it for import into any EMR system or as standalone PDF files kept outside of the EMR.  Either way, the files can be  accessed within seconds.   We also offer competitive Day-Forward scanning  for Doctors on EMR.  We will ensure that all information can be fully searched,  retrieved,  viewed,  printed,  and exported.    RSRS can also provide hands-on training to staff in a testing environment to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the application prior to its full implementation.  With record scanning services, you have the benefit of 14 years of medical records expertise.

Steps to Helping Medical Professionals Transition to EMR

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Dr. Marla Shapiro Recommends RSRS - Record Storage and Retrieval Services

Dr. Marla Shapiro Recommends RSRS - Record Storage and Retrieval Services

Paper records will be with us for a long time. When the call to “go paperless” makes its way into your practice, the issue of what to do with your paper records will come up. When it does, there are a few points you may wish to consider. Whether or not you’re making the move to Electronic Medical Records (EMR), the points remain the same for most physician offices. The health community faces rigorous compliance demands and obligations for continuity planning.

At RSRS, we’ve been in the business of medical records management, assisting physicians, clinics and hospitals for nearly 14 years. We’ve learned a few tricks along the way and we’ve helped countless physicians with their scanning and storage requirements. We offer the following recommendations based on our experience helping many others in similar situations.

1. Separate the ACTIVE from the INACTIVE

For a general practice, we define ACTIVE as those patients last seen within the last 2 years (this will vary for specialty practices and will also vary somewhat for some general practices). INACTIVE RECORDS are defined as those records belonging to patients last seen 3 or more years ago. For those records, the clock has already started ticking with respect to date of destruction (10 or 15 years after the date last seen, unless you’re a pediatrician or have a lot of pediatric records). This is not true for active records.

2. Scan the ACTIVE records.

Outsource this job. We recommend scanning the entire active record. This does not mean that the entire active record must be placed into your EMR system (if you have one, or are moving into one). It simply means that you should aim to have all paper corresponding to your active patients scanned and readily available and accessible on your computer. It all must be kept for the same amount of time anyway. And by having the entire active paper record scanned for a given patient, you are ensuring the following:

• Instantaneous access to the entire record (3 seconds to find a file)
• Easy reference to historical trends and early indicators for a given patient
• Easy facilitation of response to Requests for information (Insurance, legal, etc.)
• No misplaced files and no filing errors
• No more requirement for paper files or boxes to clutter up the office or take up valuable space in the office which can be used for more productive purposes

3. Store the INACTIVE patient records.

Since the “countdown to destruction” clock has already started on these INACTIVE records, we recommend storing these records by “year last seen.” RSRS’ storage facility will pick up the inactive record boxes, barcode them, put them into storage and make files available to you with expedited delivery for those sporadic requests that may come about in the future. Our SCAN ON DEMAND service will get you any record that needs to be reactivated and we’ll deliver it electronically to you via secure FTP – no need to add paper, so you can maintain your electronic status. Note: Both RSRS and the CMPA do not recommend keeping a patient record partially stored as paper and partially scanned. For more information on Best Practices for Canadian physicians in transition to EMR, here’s a comprehensive article from the National Review of Medicine .

Everyone wants to work with the best partners available. RSRS has a great professional team to work with. We know that you went to medical school to practice medicine, not to get deeper and deeper into managing paper, especially once you move to an EMR system. We have helped physicians with their records management since 1997. Co-founded by a Toronto family doctor, RSRS works in full compliance with the relevant provincial privacy legislation and local Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons.

5 Myths Concerning EMR Adoption

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There is no doubt that medical practices are transitioning to EMR in record numbers.  They are eager to access funding to do so, where available and are hopeful about capitalizing on the benefits of running a paperless office with efficient document management.  Easy filing and retrieval of your medical records digitally will help you reduce costs and increase staff productivity.  Yet despite these innovations, there remains resistance to the transition to EMR, often due to myths surrounding the transition.  Let’s try to dispel some of the myths surrounding the conversion process…

Myth #1 -I Will Need Digital IT Staff

Your EMR company will provide both training as well as ongoing tech support for their product.  Work with your EMR vendor to set milestones and get guarantees on Service Level Agreements and quality so that there are no surprises.  Also, don’t forget about the backfile of paper which will require a ton of resources if attempted in-house.  RSRS can handle your conversion needs, large and small, from pulling staples and preparing your documents to indexing them and building a fully searchable archive. We can also show you how to combine that with our workflow processing and even basic document management software.

Myth #2 -It Will Be Less Secure

A properly held electronic record is actually more secure.  Your medical data will be password-protected and secure from disaster with redundant back-ups.  Patient records can only be accessed by individuals with authorization and a business need to do so.

Myth #3 -I Will Need More Staff

When planned properly, there is no need for additional staff.  You will actually be able to improve patient service levels because more staff can be devoted to patient care than handling paper records.  Both administrator and physician alike will save time by taking advantage of instant retrievals and no more misfiling.  With RSRSs’ Day-Forward scanning service,  new incoming paper (mail, fax, etc.) can be outsourced for quicker indexing and uploading directly into your EMR system.

Myth #4 -It Takes Too Long To Achieve ROI

The EMR is generally thought of as an administrative tool, not directly involved in patient care and without payback.  However, nothing can be further from the truth.  Despite the initial investment, the costs can be recovered within months  through increased efficiencies.   Consider also that the amount of available space in your office will increase dramatically allowing for better utilization (another Exam room?), while your paper utilization will decrease.   There are both direct and indirect savings!

Myth #5 -There Will Be Staff Resistance

Okay,  this isn’t exactly a myth – this is reality!  The biggest barrier to any new implementation may be the resistance to change by both the staff and physicians. There’s nothing quite as comforting as status quo.  Getting staff buy-in from the start, allowing them input into the change process, and communicating reasons for the business drivers will often bring them on board more proactively from the start.   If anything, there should be more concern about eventual patient  resistance to continuing with a practice that is not moving forward with increased efficiencies being adopted elsewhere.  Technically literate administrative staff will also be reluctant to join any paper-based practice. For more information on managing resistance to change during the EMR transition,  please click here.

For more information about taking the plunge into EMR, backfile scanning, day-forward scanning and general conversion, take a look at our website or call us for more information at 1-888-563-3732.  RSRS has been helping physicians, clinics,  and hospitals with their medical scanning needs for 15 years – We are physician-managed and fully compliant with the rules and guidelines as set forth by provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons as well as by the Provincial Medical Associations.

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