The world of information technology is fast-changing, and it can feel impossible to keep up with everything. However, many new services and processes can make your job easier and improve patient satisfaction. To get started, focus on these IT must-haves for every doctor’s office.
Electronic Health Records
Almost all healthcare providers rely on some form of electronic medical records (EMR) or electronic health records (EHR), making them the top IT must-haves for every doctor’s office. You may hear both terms used interchangeably, but there is a technical difference between the two according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. EMRs were traditionally used for diagnosis and treatment of a specific condition, while EHRs include general health information and can be exchanged between different offices. By using EHRs, you can track a patient’s health and easily share it with specialists or other physicians.
Another benefit of EHRs is that you can use them to give patients access to their information. Many healthcare organizations have portal systems like MyChart they use so patients can log in to get information on prescriptions, lab results, and visit history. If you aren’t part of a larger organization that utilizes one of these systems already, it’s worth doing some research to find one that’s a good fit for you.
A Secure Storage System
When it comes to EHRs, secure storage is an absolute necessity. Whether you use a cloud computing service or a server, it needs to be HIPAA-compliant. Many experts suggest that cloud systems are more secure than servers these days. Make sure your IT provider is familiar with the HIPAA guidelines on cloud computing.
Whichever you choose, make sure you follow security protocols and train all staff to follow them. Negligence is more often the cause of data breaches than malicious actions, so making sure everyone in the organization is educated on how to securely handle information is paramount.
If your organization still has paper records, don’t forget about physical security. Sometimes so much focus is put on digital security that analog records are left vulnerable.
Make sure your wireless hardware and software are up-to-date and secure. Keep network passwords secure and change them frequently. Block devices that are not authorized to use your wi-fi network.
Rules for Portable Devices
As digital record keeping and communication becomes the norm, many physicians and staff members use their personal devices for work purposes. Put a policy in place for how personal devices like phones, tablets, and laptops can be used. Set firm boundaries on what kind of data is allowed to be stored on a personal device and what apps can be installed. Some organizations prefer to ensure policies are followed by using mobile device management (MDM) software.
A more secure policy for portable devices is to provide encrypted devices. Unencrypted portable devices can lead to data breaches and security issues. If the device is lost and is not encrypted, then the person that finds it can access the data stored on it. Devices that need to be encrypted include tablets, laptops, smartphones, and USB drives. Anything that has patient data on it should be encrypted for security.
Digital Patient Check-In System
If your practice still relies on handing patients a packet of papers to get check-in information, it might time for an upgrade. There are several free and paid apps you can use for patient check-in that feed information directly into your electronic medical records. Patients can update their insurance, confirm demographic information, and update their medical history right on a digital device like a tablet. Some paid services will provide hardware, or your office can use commercially available tablets like iPads. Many systems also allow patients to complete check-in online before they arrive for the appointment.
Cloud-Based Transcription Services
Using a chart transcription service that is accurate and affordable can be invaluable to a practice. Finding a service that is secure and cloud-based is an IT must-have for every doctor’s office. Fast Chart utilizes experienced professions and state-of-the-art technology to ensure security and client satisfaction. Our mission is to provide innovative, accurate, and affordable outsourced clinical documentation solutions. Call (919) 477-5152 to request a free quote.