The utilization of electronic medical record (EMR) technologies and software in home health care industry is far from a new concept. Home Health and hospice agencies have been required to either encode clinical assessments electronically or submit electronic claims to different payors. Constant regulatory changes, initiatives to improve patient care, a younger, more mobile and tech-savvy workforce and fiscal realities among other reasons make the adoption of electronic medical records inevitable. So far, the adoption of web-based electronic medical records has been slow in the home health care industry. Today, a majority of home health and hospice organizations either do not utilize any EMR systems or use server-based software systems. A web-based software is defined as a software application designed and developed to be accessed primarily through the internet. Web based software applications have evolved significantly over recent years and with improvements in security and technology there are plenty of scenarios where web based applications have proven to be superior to their desktop and server based predecessors. This article will discuss the core benefits of the utilization of web based software applications in homecare agencies.
Real-time Access to Information
Your data is in its most updated form and available for users to access at all times. In most server-based systems there is an ongoing need to synchronize the most current data with the primary server which delays access to current data. This delay hinders users from gaining the most current data on clients that could potentially affect the quality of patient care.
In a large percentage of homecare agencies nationwide, paper charts and forms are still utilized. Although this is a common practice it remains inefficient in comparison to the use of web-based electronic medical records systems. For example, when clinicians utilize web based documentation applications, it eliminates the typical delay agencies face in receiving patient progress notes, thereby decreasing the time it takes for quality assurance and billing staff to have access to the documents and data.
Web based applications are usually licensed on a subscription basis and do not require the purchase of specific hardware such as servers, specially configured desktops or laptops, therefore dramatically reducing costs and eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance and IT support.
No Installation Required
Web based applications require little to no specific installation in order to get started. All you need is a good internet connection and a web browser such as, Internet Explorer or Firefox that come with almost all computers. These web browsers are also usually available free of charge and can be downloaded of the internet.
With an internet connection users have access to a web-based software application from anywhere in the world at any time. Unlike server based applications that require access to a server, web based applications can be accessed from anywhere as long as there is a reliable internet connection.
Improved Security of Medical Records
In the event that there is a natural disaster, a hurricane for instance, a server containing all of your patients and agency billing data that is housed in your office is at risk of being damaged or destroyed. With a web-based application this risk is totally eliminated and your patient records remain safe and secure due to the data being stored in a data facility that has been built for events of this nature.
In summary, Web based applications have come a long way and now offer competitive advantages to traditional server based systems, allowing home care agencies to improve collaboration, adopt more efficient processes, decrease data duplication and reduce documentation errors. Web based solutions offer a cost effective transition into the utilization of electronic medical records.