It is important to understand that the patient needs to come back to you. If they don’t come back for a visit, that’s a red flag. You need to know why they didn’t reconsider coming to you. Was it because they didn’t get the update? Confused about how to view lab results? Healthcare practices can also use electronic medical record (EMR) software systems and patient portal EMR software to fill healthcare gaps and make healthcare convenient and accessible. Improving patient engagement means providing superior customer service, through proactive strategies, and connecting using software systems, technology, and digital tools. 

Retention of an Electronic Medical Record poses different problems. If you want to keep the structure and content of your EMR, you need to define it more clearly. Information systems that facilitate patient care within hospital information systems are more than medical records. In fact, the EMR is formed by deconstructing and reconstructing data from patient information databases.

  • What is EMR/EHR data retention?
  • What is the need for EMR/EHR retention strategy?
  • Methods to improve patient retention in 2023
  • What are the challenges in the EHR retention strategy?
  • What are the benefits of the EMR data retention strategy?

What is EHR/EMR data retention?

A patient’s medical records should include the following information:

  • Demographics
  • Reason for visit
  • Exams administered
  • Exam and tests findings
  • Diagnoses
  • Treatment plans
  • Prescriptions and medications

Before EMR digitized patient records, physicians often ran out of physical storage space and had to destroy certain records. However, even EMRs don’t come with unlimited disk space and memory, so the need to shred records hasn’t entirely gone away. Remember, any act of destruction that violates the Medical Records Retention Act is grounds for legal action. We will explain how to store and dispose of medical records based on the law.

EHR/EMR data retention is the method by which personal health information and records are stored and managed for a specified period of time. Retention policies typically define the type of data, its form, duration, deletion mechanism, and ownership, What to do in the event of a breach is related to the procedure or type of policy violation. Keeping records helps create a track record of treatment planning and quality of care. Proper medical record keeping is recommended for the successful long-term care of patients. It also helps in medical malpractice lawsuits, admissions board complaints, and medical audits.

Who owns electronic medical records– Technically, patients own their electronic medical records. You are responsible for storing it, but patients can request access at any time. Patients can even request that their records be made public without keeping copies.

What is the need for EMR/EHR retention strategy? 

  • Continuity of business operations
  • Continuity of patient care
  • Preservation of a historical record

Methods to improve patient retention in 2023?

Use Preferred Communication Channels – Sharing the right information with patients at the right time is critical. Healthcare providers can use patient engagement software systems to communicate test results via HIPAA-compliant call, text, and email options. Make sure you communicate with your patient. For example, a younger patient can be notified by instant SMS, but an older patient wants a phone call for updates. Patient engagement software is a powerful tool that allows a patient to connect with her 24/7 healthcare provider. You can email us with any questions and schedule an appointment using our scheduling software system.

Give patients more control – Patient engagement software can be used to give patients more control over their healthcare process. Giving patients free access to their health data makes them happier and helps improve patient outcomes. Patients can view test results with just a few clicks using patient engagement software and read health resources such as health plans and articles for their personal needs.

Keep patients informed – Proactively informing patients about the latest processes and guidelines in a timely manner is critical. Through patient engagement, software platform providers can share new practices that matter to patients. Communication barriers faced by patients and providers can impact patient engagement and overall care delivery.

What are the challenges in the EHR retention strategy?

Accessibility – One of the most important concerns when working with EHR data is creating a system that works for both patients and physicians. Interfacing issues are the greatest systemic risk because these errors may be initially invisible. If you don’t know how to use it, you might miss a problem and it could cost you your life. Therefore, it is imperative that healthcare organizations employ medical records management professionals to ensure that physicians and patients understand these new technologies and how to use them. Electronic medical records simplify many aspects of the healthcare industry, but they are not without challenges. Collecting, storing, and protecting data is the responsibility of a relatively new group of experts. Medical records management is an integral part of the healthcare industry and is at the forefront of innovative healthcare delivery.

Unsolicited Data – EHRs are beneficial in many ways. Electronic medical records “increase access to care, improve quality of care, and reduce costs.” However, keeping these records presents many logistical, physical, and ethical challenges.

Logistical Issues – One area of potential logistical challenges is ‘unsolicited health information’ which is “Data obtained from health care providers who have not taken affirmative steps to request or collect such information” (American Health Information Management Association). But medical records management professionals are finding new ways to collect this often-important data from a variety of sources. It is very important to make sure the information is in the correct file. It can even be the difference between life and death. The health data manager must then store this information indefinitely and make it available to the patient’s general practitioner.

Physical Issues – Most consumers find electronic health records to be great. Medical charts are electronic, so they are weightless and storage does not take up physical space. But in reality, electronic records must exist and be accessible somewhere. This storage must be secure, as federal regulations set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 protect data in all patient records.

Ethical Issues –  Conversely, many medical records management professionals are turning to cloud computing to solve the problem of server space. Cloud data storage can handle large amounts of sensitive data. When it comes to sensitive data, robust security is the most important. The penalties for HIPAA violations are so severe that medical records management professionals are needed to protect healthcare providers from violators. Healthcare providers have an ethical obligation to protect patient information. While previous storage solutions prevented mass theft of medical records, electronic medical records are relatively portable. Therefore, it is at risk of being stolen and misused.

What are the benefits of the EMR data retention strategy? 

  • The patient health information is available to meet the needs of continued patient care, legal requirements, research, education, and other legitimate uses of the organization
  • Guidelines are included that specify what information is kept, the time period for which it is kept, and the storage medium on which it will be maintained
  • Inclusion of clear destruction policies and procedures detailing appropriate methods of destruction for each medium on which information is maintained