Oct 18, 2022 12:42:22 PM Practice EHR

Reducing Risk and Liability in Medical Settings: How an EHR Can Help

Medical errors contribute to more than 250,000 deaths in the United States each year alone —making them one of the leading causes of death. Even more important is the fact that up to 80 percent of medical errors are preventable, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Medical errors are a common source of litigation and can be due to things like inaccurate or incomplete records, mistaken patient identities, and misdiagnoses. Electronic medical records (EHR) can help prevent liabilities by reducing the above things.

Not only can EHR systems help reduce risk, but they also enable better medical care overall. A survey of doctors that was recently released by the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) found that 94 percent feel that their EHR makes records readily available at the point of care and 88 percent report that the EHR provides them with significant clinical benefits.

Let’s take a closer look at how a good EHR system can prevent liability issues for healthcare providers, improve patient satisfaction and more.

Better Care Through Better Data

While it's easy to think of a practice's EHR strictly as an information-management system, these systems do much more than just take in, store, and transmit information for members of the practice. A good EHR system allows medical practices to reduce liability and provide better patient care by better managing patient data.

Data from the ONC shows that an EHR can improve a healthcare provider's ability to diagnose diseases, prevent medical errors, and produce better patient outcomes.

Let’s take a closer look.

Complete, Up-to-Date Medical Information

According to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), patients receive better medical care when health care providers have access to accurate and complete health information. That really isn’t a surprise. Decision-making in healthcare relies on having complete, correct information. Healthcare providers can't know what they can't see. Incomplete and inaccessible records create liabilities for healthcare providers and practices.

Electronic health record enables care providers to make better decisions by providing access to complete, up-to-date information.

Eliminates Data Gaps

An electronic health record allows for quicker diagnosis and medical decisions because it eliminates data gaps —providing a complete view to physicians and other providers. The complete view can be shown through integrations with information such as medication history, Laboratory orders and results. This allows the care provider to make a diagnosis sooner than they would be able to when dealing with data gaps. This speed can even prevent some avoidable conditions using early intervention.

In addition, eliminating data gaps can help reduce the need to repeat diagnostic studies that have already been done. It also provides greater patient satisfaction as it prevents the need for providers to ask patients questions that they have already answered many times before.

Reliable Access to Patients' Complete Health History

The entire healthcare team at a facility of any size can save time and have more confidence in their decisions when they have an EHR that provides reliable access to a patient's full health history.

Providers need to know whether or not patients have allergies, a history of adverse reactions to medications, or are taking medications that could interact with other forms of treatment. Having a complete, reliable health history provides this information and more. It also helps:

  • Reduce the likelihood of medication errors. When a provider is prescribing a new medication, the EHR system will provide information to confirm that the medication is safe and appropriate based on the patient data on record. This can help reduce the risk of a medication error that could lead to medical litigation.
  • Identify risk factors. Information from a patient's history can help doctors and other medical providers identify risk factors that could indicate a potentially severe condition.

Personalized Care

In addition to providing healthcare professionals with the right data, EHR also helps physicians deliver more personalized care than what they would be able to provide by relying solely on isolated paper charts.

This is a great benefit due to the fact that physicians are able to see labs over a period of time in one place. This allows patients to be reminded of scheduling annual exams, chronic care follow-up visits, and preventative screening services. All in all, it is beneficial for the practice and their patients.

What Features Are Most Helpful When It Comes to Reducing Liability?

So, what should you look for when choosing an EHR for your medical practice or clinic? Specific features that can drastically reduce liability issues for healthcare providers should be considered when selecting EHR software. Those liabilities can be from staff members stealing confidential information, issues of privacy, hacking, and other concerns. Here are the core features to look for when selecting an EHR platform.

Auditing Functions

According to a 2020 published review on the insights and implications of healthcare data breaches, healthcare data is more sensitive than other types of data because early tampering can lead to faulty treatment. This can cause irreversible losses to patients and even be fatal, in some cases.

This same analysis found that the healthcare industry is being targeted by attackers at a higher rate than most other industries. More than 249.09 million individuals were affected by healthcare data breaches from 2005 to 2019.

An electronic health record can automatically flag anything that is suspicious for review teams. This helps catch problems early before they result in medical errors.

Data Security

While many practices focus on systems that can keep patient data organized, not enough are going far enough to keep that data adequately secured. It's essential for an EHR system to provide security to both staff and patients. When data is kept safe, it leads to better outcomes for patients.

For example, Practice EHR can track the electronic footprint for each user and IP address to provide a detailed analysis of who is accessing the system.

On the Practice EHR platform, security groups can be customized by the medical practice to ensure that the correct people have the right levels of access to features and functions based on their menu roles. This can be vital for adhering to HIPAA Privacy Rule regulations that set limits and conditions for how informational uses and disclosures may take place without a patient's authorization.

Clinical Tracking of Notes

Clinical tracking of notes is vital when it comes to reducing liability. EHR’s often provide clinical tracking of notes to verify that all notes are completed and signed to support charges submitted to insurance plans. In addition to ensuring that confidential patient information is only sent to appropriate and authorized parties, this privacy-oriented feature also helps to reduce claim rejections and bottlenecks that could delay payments to the provider.

An EHR that Provides More

It is helpful for practices to look for an EMR that provides more than just liability protection. Practices should look for an EHR system that streamlines the entire patient experience on a single platform by providing:

  • A secure place for policies, procedures.
  • Best practices for passwords and security.
  • Locking of patient records.
  • Document tracking.
  • Backups of records.

Practice EHR Provides Liability Protection and So Much More

Put the focus on patient care while having the peace of mind that comes with using the only medical software solution that secures every aspect of a practice's data-management cycle. Designed with today's overstretched practices in mind, Practice EHR works with any medical specialty to create a stronger patient-provider experience.

Our software streamlines check-in, check-out billing, claim submission, scheduling, and more! Practice EHR is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution that lets healthcare practice stakeholders work from anywhere.

Questions about liability hurt a practice's ability to provide life-saving care. Contact us today for a free demo of Practice EHR.

Contact us today for a free demo!

Topics: Integrated EHR, Small Practice, EHR Solution, New Technology, Cloud-based EHR

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