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A trip to the doctor can be an onerous task. Beyond long wait times, the large batches of paper-based forms coupled with the threat of a data entry error can be a strong deterrent for all parties involved.
A move to eliminate these inefficient redundancies through electronic digital solutions has been a primary focus from those within the healthcare industry over the past decade. From the direct medical providers to healthcare insurance services, several workflow processes today are largely coordinated within e-systems that help save time and money.
One of the ways in which this has been done is through the growth of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). Several countries around the world — including Canada, Australia, and Switzerland — have utilized the technology for over a decade.
In the United States, hospitals that use an electronic health record has increased from nine per cent in 2008 to 76 per cent in 2014. Despite the increase, the U.S. is still among the slower countries to adopt full electronic records in healthcare.
Simply: an EHR transfers all of a patient’s paper-based medical records into a digital format that is then easily accessible and can be moved quickly between hospital clinics or sites (other hospitals or even nursing homes) or pharmacies. Compare this with paper-based solutions in which important patient information could be slow in getting to places.
There are two key benefits that pop up with an EHR. The first is instant data entry. In one visit, the professional puts in the appropriate information that is put into a database allowing other professionals access to this information. The information is also viewable by the patients themselves who can make decisions on their lifestyles. It also liberates them to move between hospitals if their primary doctor or site is not immediately available.
The second benefit of an EHR’s is on the analytical side. This is important for many reasons. The obvious one is that it enables doctors to make key decisions quickly based on data stored in the EHR.
Analytics also helps industries outside of direct medicine to make informed key decisions. For instance: healthcare insurance will use these digital records to assist them in determining the best benefits for their clients. Much like in driving, health insurance providers use the electronic data to check medical information to make decisions on what the patient is covered for: procedures, drugs, and equipment.
In general, insurance providers are looking at ways to reduce dependency on paper and digitize their business processes. This is because the paperwork involved is often complicated requiring an investment data validation, accuracy and time.
One of the key moves is to push forms onto a mobile environment that adapt to each unique user. Insurance providers are then able to send their own agents into the field to meet directly with clients. The agents fill out the necessary information on mobile devices that can retrieve information at the same time. This allows the forms to be filled out while an agent is onsite with the client. Any errors can also be detected immediately which ensures that the collected data is validated as it is captured, reducing any round trip back to the client to gather additional data or corrected data.
Agents may not necessarily be required as clients complete the information themselves at home. With adaptive forms, users are can type data (including e-signatures) into one form that will later appear on other forms.
At 4Point, Change Healthcare (former Chamberlin Edmonds) and CVS Caremark are two healthcare insurance providers who have worked with us to create digital solutions in how they offer services to their clients.
For Change Healthcare (Chamberlin Edmonds), they approached the digitization of their records by wanting to improve service in a mobile capacity. The user can now access the same information across various devices and complete e-forms and have that progress saved across the different devices. With the growing integration of e-signatures as an acceptable tool to sign documents, once a user fills out information on one form and signs it – that information is copied throughout the appropriate forms. The user only provides information once.
CVS Caremark aimed to offer a better user experience on their digital platforms that would further help reduce the amount of time (upwards of 20 hours per week) that it took for their administrators to input data from paper forms. They wanted an electronic solution that was responsive and customized for their users. This allowed them to make better analytical decisions when administering their benefits and plans.
The digitization of medical records is a crucial step for the medical industry. From health care providers to insurance companies, Making information digital will allow information to available whenever and wherever it is required thus increasing the efficiencies of our health systems.