Why Some Healthcare Practices Still Use Paper Records

Why Some Healthcare Practices Still Use Paper Records

Many healthcare companies still rely on paper records rather than electronic health records. While paper records increase the amount of time and money spent on each patient, they serve a very important purpose in healthcare. Here are some of the reasons healthcare practices still use paper records in their day-to-day business operations.

Patient Needs

Depending on the age and socioeconomic status of the healthcare facility’s patients, some of them may not have access to technology or the ability to use it easily. Paper records are the most accessible way for many demographics of patients to receive information and fill out documents. Most people are familiar with the process of filling out paper forms, but may find it hard to navigate an online system or obtain the information they need in their language of choice.

Privacy Concerns

Hacking and phishing attempts are becoming more widespread and sophisticated each year. There is a rising concern of patient records hacking among healthcare facilities. Data breaches and unauthorized access to electronic records can cause major liability issues, result in huge fines, increase your risk of lawsuits, and ruin your reputation. Using paper records offers more control over the safety and privacy of your patients’ medical records.

Incompatibility of Systems

Some healthcare systems may be incompatible and may not be able to easily integrate their systems to share information or exchange data. If one system is updated, another one will need to be updated as well to keep up. However, some older systems cannot be updated easily or the cost to update them may be prohibitive. Using paper forms and records allows staff to input information directly into different systems.

Compliance Concerns

Healthcare facilities must maintain compliance with a variety of local and federal regulatory agencies. Ensuring redundancy and reliability of patient information can reduce their risk of non-compliance. In the event of a power outage, equipment failure, or data loss, they can still rely on paper records to provide patient care.

Resistance to Change

Some healthcare facility owners or managers may simply be resistant to change. They may not want to invest the time and money into installing, implementing, updating, and training people on a new electronic records system. If the staff, managers, and patients are used to using paper forms and records and the system works for them, they may see no reason to adapt to new technology.

Budget Concerns

Implementing a new electronic records system requires a huge investment of time and money. You will need to buy new equipment, invest in the development and installation of new software, and spend time training employees on using new systems and methods and communicating information about these new methods to patients. You will also have to spend time and money transferring paper records into an electronic format and developing quality control processes to avoid data entry error. Many healthcare facilities simply don’t have the budget for making such a huge change.

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