Security Challenges of EHR Adoption

Tony Ryzinski, for HealthLeaders Media, February 10, 2011

Providers and healthcare consumers both feel that the electronic health records will produce better healthcare outcomes. There’s still some disagreement, though, about how each party feels about the security of such tools.

The practice of medicine is changing with technology, which calls for an adjustment of its perceptions in the space. Our physician clients tell us daily that EHR tools assist them in providing better care. EHRs alone don’t mean doctors are better doctors, but they do help doctors provide better care. However, the patients of those physicians worry about security of EHRs. That fear is easily countered once they see the technology being used, though.

 EHRs far outpace paper records in terms of security and accessibility. If of all the times a paper record made its way out of the office in a physician’ briefcase was lost, stolen or damaged, think of the time, money and resources that could have been saved had the records been electronic instead, and paper records are nearly impossible to replace, which is not the case with an electronic record.

And it goes without saying that EHRs make records more accessible. A patient’s information can be viewed from any place in the world that has a connection without the record ever having to leave the office. In the case of a disaster such as a fire, the electronic record is backed up and saved multiple times over.

 Retrieving the complete list of practice’s patient records is a simple task for an EHR compared to paper, which a practice may never recover from.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Sage client Stockton MRI in Stockton, California, recovered from a disastrous fire to the practice last year with all patient records intact because of the clinic’s electronic system. A few months after the fire, Stockton MRI was practicing out of a temporary mobile MRI unit at full capacity while they are rebuilt. Such a quick recovery would not have been possible with paper records.

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