Healthcare Information Management (HIM) is becoming more dynamic that ever before, and the pace of change is likely to accelerate in the near future. Things are changing from Computerized Physicians Order Entry (CPOE) systems to the national Electronic Health Records (EHR) initiative, appliance of technology in making patient information management more efficient and in due course advance the quality of patient care, are well in progress. Such new HIM solutions are driven by a number of overlapping and converging trends which include: the drive for improved operating efficiencies, availability of technology-based solutions, improved quality of patient care in an exceptionally dynamic healthcare landscape, and more regulations and public health initiatives. Healthcare record management is an fundamental module of these initiatives and in that way health care organizations are likely to manage hybrid patient information; with varied forms of physical data such as film and paper and thus increasing volumes of electronic data in miscellaneous formats (Peter et al. 2004).
According to Robertson, (2005) there are a number of things that are likely to change in the health care industry given the fact that filing dictation on active medical records are altered when the paper medical records are all converted to electronic health records. Because of such a move there are a number of advantages that accompanying integrated patient records management system which are many. Some of these benefits will be in productivity of the healthcare organization and some will result into an increased productivity. One major benefit of hybrid integration is improved quality of patient care. It is estimated that between 2000 and 2002, the U.S. spent a total of $19 billion on 'preventive patient safety incidents'. This does not imply that medical error will be eliminated by timely and accurate records. Quicker, more accurate retrieval of records are also likely to lead to better treatment and reduced patient length of stay, accompanied by higher physician satisfaction. It also has administrative benefits which include more efficient billing cycles, less administrative staff, decreased account receivable, less Medicare denials as a result of faster and more accurate records retrieval.
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Finally, there are further changes that will be beneficial in case physical records management is outsourced. Valuable real estate, likely in several departments or geographically distributed locations, can be converted to purposes of generating revenue. Most importantly, HIM staffs can therefore be reallocated to more strategic initiatives than filing and retrieving papers. In every department within the organization, the administrative overhead of filing, retrieving, and tracking papers can be reduced greatly. Regulatory compliance and newer, more aggressive public health initiative can also be extended (Wang & Middleton 2003).
Ultimately, a more comprehensive records system enable research to be carried out effectively, accompanied by better disease identification and treatment recommendations. All in all, HIM professionals need to begin planning for the change to the EHR, and this includes how hybrid, (e.g. corporeal and electronic), medical records will be controlled efficiently within the healthcare organization.
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