6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients

6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients 

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have played a major role in the digital transformation of the healthcare industry as a whole. And, in particular, they have helped patients benefit from more accurate diagnoses and higher-quality, uninterrupted medical care. 

But how can healthcare providers make the most of their medical record system to support the treatment and long-term care of patients? Here are just five ways to use EHRs to deliver higher-quality healthcare to patients.

6 Important Ways to Use Medical Records for Patients

Delivering More Accurate Diagnoses

Although advances in screening technologies and healthcare have significantly reduced the risk of misdiagnosis, recent estimates show that, on average, 1 in 20 adult patients seeking outpatient medical care receive a wrong diagnosis. 

What’s more, some long-term conditions have much higher misdiagnosis rates. For example, although neurologists can easily answer questions such as “what is epilepsy?” or “what are the symptoms of epilepsy?” diagnosing this condition remains challenging.  In fact, an estimated 20-30% of people with epilepsy are believed to have been misdiagnosed, according to Epilepsy Foundation. 

Electronic medical records have helped treatment providers in determining hard-to-diagnose conditions like epilepsy by providing access to accurate real-time and historical data, which assists in predicting patient risk, timely addressing risk factors, and reducing human error.

New Telemedicine Opportunities

One of the best ways in which EHRs are helping advance healthcare is through the telemedicine opportunities they provide. 

Telehealth and virtual care are playing a pivotal role in helping the healthcare system cope with the unprecedented pressure stemming from an aging population and the need for more accessible, quality care. What’s more, telehealth services help providers boost care accessibility and reduce burnout.

With EHR systems featuring telehealth capabilities, providers can introduce an additional real-time communication channel to boost provider-patient relationships. Telehealth has also helped providers deliver continued care to those with long-term or chronic conditions, especially in the case of patients with mobility issues or living in remote areas.

Integrations With Health-Tracking Devices

The latest Electronic Health Record systems can integrate with health-tracking devices, such as mobile apps and smartwatches. These wearable devices monitor real-time health data relating to a wide range of conditions, including heart rate, glucose levels, quality of sleep, and seizure intensity and frequency. 

From a patient’s viewpoint, these tools deliver better control over one’s health and allow high-risk individuals to take preventive steps. On the other hand, providers can access real-time and accurate health data about their patients and enhance insights on treatment effectiveness, recovery progress, and condition development. 

Boosting Patient Satisfaction

Medical records are essential for clinics looking to improve patient identity, satisfaction, and care. EHRs and patient portals allow patients to enjoy a direct communication channel with their providers, seamlessly schedule follow-up appointments, and retrieve details of their medical history in no time. 

From a provider’s viewpoint, EHRs provide healthcare clinics with quick access to patient data and a secure information-sharing system. What’s more, EHR systems support clinical decision-making, reduce the likelihood of human error, and deliver clinical alerts and reminders.

Seamless Care Through Collaborative Data Collection 

Interoperable medical record systems allow healthcare clinics and care providers to share collaborative datasets and access real-time information, which is essential to provide patients with ongoing, uninterrupted care. 

This is particularly important in the case of patients who deal with a range of healthcare providers and specialists during their treatment journey, where the communication of patient information is critical. 

Improved Quality of Life Through Risk Management

One of the key roles of EHRs is to reduce the risk of human error to a minimum. Through EHRs, clinics no longer need to deal with error-prone, labor-intensive data transcription processes, and can instantly deliver data to other providers involved in a patient’s treatment. 

Moreover, many healthcare facilities are using innovative solutions to ensure accurate patient identification. For instance, a touchless patient identification platform like RightPatient helps ensure patient data integrity and helps identify the correct medical record each time the patient comes in for a visit using their photos. 

High-risk patients can also benefit from uninterrupted monitoring of their condition and risk factors, thus reducing the likelihood of dealing with more severe health conditions in the future. 

Although the cost of EHR systems and the differences between one system and another are two of the most significant adoption barriers, medical records are already yielding considerable benefits in the diagnosis, treatment, and clinical care of a range of conditions.

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Privacy is something we value as a society. And yet, now that so much of our personal information can be found online, privacy is something that so often feels rare and special. In healthcare, it needs to be a given. 

Healthcare data is extremely important and extremely sensitive. Patients tell their doctors things that they would never tell anyone else. It’s very important for healthcare managers to prioritize patient confidentiality as part of a larger management strategy. Let’s take a look at how and why patient confidentiality is so important in healthcare management. 

Why Effective Health Care Management Must Include Proper Patient Confidentiality

Federal Law Protects Patient Data

Healthcare managers need to remember that patient data is protected under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This law sets standards for how patient data can be shared and handled, and how it must be protected. 

The HIPAA Privacy Rule also outlines the rights patients have when it comes to understanding how their health data will be used. They have the right to control who sees their information and how it will be used. Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is what links health data to the individual.

Violating federal patient data laws can result in hefty fines. Healthcare managers need to ensure that everyone in their organization is complying with all relevant legislation. 

Patients Need to Trust Their Doctors 

Healthcare providers need to know the most intimate details of people’s lives in order to provide them with the care they need. Patients are extremely vulnerable when they walk into a doctor’s office — they’re poked, prodded, weighed, and asked a whole range of highly personal questions. Some people lie to their doctors about their health and habits, especially if they don’t feel they can trust them. 

Trust is a cornerstone of providing the best possible care. A patient who doesn’t feel comfortable with their doctor isn’t going to be open and honest with them about their habits, symptoms, and concerns. In many cases, this can lead to patients receiving poor care or delaying a diagnosis and allowing the problem to get worse. 

At the end of the day, a patient who can’t trust a doctor with their health information is likely to have poorer health outcomes. Patients have to be able to trust that their health data is kept confidential unless they allow it to be shared. Without that trust, personalized treatment plans that help people stay healthy are impossible to establish. 

The Threat to Patient Privacy Has Never Been Greater 

Today, nearly all patient records are stored electronically. Electronic Health Records (EHR) have a huge number of benefits: they’re easier to share among providers, they can help reduce medical errors, and they take up less space. However, having all patient records in electronic form also has its risks. 

Medical organizations are top targets for cybercriminals, meaning that data breaches are common in the industry. Patient data is frequently compromised during these attacks, exposing the sensitive information of thousands. 

Data breaches cost organizations millions of dollars. Organizations of all sizes can be targeted and these breaches typically involve logistically difficult and expensive cleanup, a loss of patient trust, and damage to the organization’s reputation. 

Fortunately, healthcare providers can prevent medical identity theft with RightPatient – a touchless biometric patient identification platform. During the registration process, the platform attaches a photo of the patient with their EHR, essentially locking it. Whenever a bad actor comes in to assume the identity of a patient, RightPatient compares their photo with the one saved during registration, stopping the fraudster and medical identity theft in real-time. 

Effective Healthcare Management Requires a Cybersecurity Focus

Because breaches are an ongoing threat, organizations have to be prepared. Making cybersecurity a major focus can help to ensure that best practices are being used in an organization on an ongoing basis. Cybercriminals are always evolving their techniques and cybersecurity needs to stay at least a step ahead. 

Investing in cybersecurity technology and personnel is smart for healthcare leaders as it can reduce the likelihood of a breach and help organizations plan for recovery if a breach should occur. Organizations without a breach response plan will find themselves scrambling when a breach does occur. 

Proper Training is Critical 

From a healthcare management perspective, training is a huge component of proper data security protocols. People are frequently the weakest link in the chain and many cyberattacks are due to personnel negligence or ignorance. Many people create weak passwords, click on links they shouldn’t, or leave work laptops open in public places. 

Training must be ongoing and frequently updated. Creating a culture around cybersecurity is an important step in protecting patients’ privacy. Anyone who has access to patient data or interacts with patients must be involved in these regular training protocols. 

Prioritizing Confidentiality is the Right Thing to Do 

Even without federal laws protecting patients’ data and the cost associated with data breaches, protecting patients’ privacy is simply the right thing to do. Healthcare managers need to focus on what’s important: facilitating optimal care to promote great outcomes and trust in the healthcare system. 

People are often scared and in pain when they visit their doctor or the hospital. The last thing they need to worry about is their data being shared or sold without their permission. Confidentiality matters in healthcare, and it’s a critical consideration for any effective healthcare management strategy.

5 Often-Overlooked Ways to Improve Patient Safety in Hospitals and Medical Centers

5 Often-Overlooked Ways to Improve Patient Safety in Hospitals and Medical Centers

If patients aren’t safe, then the purpose of a healthcare facility is rendered redundant. As such, taking safety seriously on-site has to be a priority.

Here is a glut of great ways to go about this, covering examples that tend to fall between the cracks during planning.

5 Often-Overlooked Ways to Improve Patient Safety in Hospitals and Medical Centers

Make sure air quality is as good as possible – e.g. consider using an industrial filter during building work

In a post-pandemic world, awareness of the importance of air quality in public spaces has increased significantly. Even so, it’s necessary to think carefully about how this is handled not only when a hospital or medical center is up and running, but also when construction is taking place.

Clearly, you need to filter the air to protect patients from infectious diseases and other airborne pathogens, but there’s also the prospect of lingering dust and debris left from building work to take onboard.

That’s where using an industrial filter like these comes into play. Processing large volumes of air in a given space to remove unwanted nastiness will set your facility up to serve patients more safely from day one.

Provide patients with the right information

They say that knowledge is power, but in a healthcare context, it’s also key to ensuring patient safety. Keeping patients in the loop about the nature of their condition and also the types of treatments that they’re undergoing will avoid serious errors being made.

Healthcare professionals need to be trained in conscientious care, with effective communication at the core of this.

It’s about being clear and honest, as well as ensuring that patients actually understand what they’ve been told, not that they’re merely nodding along without taking anything onboard.

Managing language barriers is also part and parcel of this, ensuring you can guide them to the right services and treatments.

Wash and sanitize hands following guidelines

Healthcare workers and patients alike need to adhere to the right procedures for washing hands, so that the transmission of infections across the site is minimized.

Even with a reduction in touch points through things like touchless biometric patient identification platforms, poor hygiene is still a huge threat in hospitals and medical centers.

The widespread use of hand sanitizing stations, as well as conspicuous signage throughout, can help. Employee training is also needed to reinforce the tenets of good hand hygiene.

Embrace digital transformation to eliminate physical paperwork

Migrating from traditional paper documents to a digital equivalent is useful in lots of sectors, and stands to offer the biggest benefits in healthcare. This comes down to the simple fact that if paperwork is incorrectly filled out or goes missing, it can jeopardize the health of patients.

Conversely, by adopting digital solutions instead, patient data can be stored, transferred, and accessed seamlessly. Updates can be applied in real-time, and handovers between practitioners can take place without the margin for error that would previously have left lives in peril.

Another aspect of the digital transformation of hospitals and medical centers we need to touch on is the role of project management software in this context. Being able to assign tasks to team members, track progress and provide updates digitally prevents administrative mistakes from having ramifications in the way treatment is provided to patients.

Thus it’s about cutting ties with the old ways of doing things and turning to the benefits of new technology, not just because it’s more convenient, but because it can deliver better outcomes for more patients.

Hospitals are also digitizing patient identification – with RightPatient, patient identification is done using patients’ faces and photos. Patients are enrolled using their photos – the touchless patient identification platform attaches this photo to the EHR. During subsequent visits, patients just need to look at the camera – RightPatient compares the live photo with the ones in the EHR system, and upon a successful match, the appropriate EHR is provided. 

Monitor as much as possible

Technology has extended its tendrils into other aspects of operating healthcare facilities and being able to monitor premises and the people within it puts decision-makers and employees in greater control of the environment.

Biometrically monitoring a patient’s current status is one thing, but being able to empower care gives with tech to double-check that the right medication is being given to the right person goes a step further.

There’s also the straightforward significance of on-site security, as achieved and maintained through monitoring points of entry, managing access to certain areas, and tracking visitors as well as employees and patients. The latest security solutions allow for much of this to be automated, meaning that you don’t need a huge team dedicated just to this aspect of running a facility.

The bottom line

You will encounter your own safety issues beyond those mentioned here, so, being adaptable as an organization is just as important as knowing what common concerns need to be on your radar.

A good way of looking for imperfections that are impacting the patient experience is to ask them. Feedback from those you serve will point you towards flaws that would otherwise have gone unnoticed, especially in a busy healthcare organization where resources may already be stretched to breaking point.