The health sector is a document-centric industry keen on maintaining patient records meticulously to avoid chaos. Patient communication is a pivotal part of the health service that hospitals provide.
It is neither possible nor desirable for the patient to remember the physician’s advice on diet, physical activities, medication, and a daily dose of medicinal administration. Traditionally, physicians and the health workforce maintain case reports of each patient that remain with the health service provider. The patient receives a detailed prescription when gets discharged and over 80% of the hospitals across the globe are still relying on paper-based patient health records.
Challenges In Maintaining Paper-Based Patient Health Records
Physicians typically scribble sentences on the case reports and issue the prescriptions to the patients so that the workforce in that physician’s team alone may grasp it. The pharmacist gets what the doctor prescribes by default, as they maintain a regular rapport with physicians. A patient who consumes medicines fails to understand the scribblings and may need interpretation. Many developed economies like Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden are pioneers in digitizing hospital documentation methods to facilitate clear-cut patient communication.
Advantages of Digital Patient Records Management
Reduces the Healthcare Provider’s Burden
Each time when a patient visits a hospital, the health workforce from the administrative, diagnostic, clinical, and pharmaceutical wings should enter patient information manually in registers or devices, which is a lengthy and laborious process. Public health departments generally focus on massive public health issues. They often get strained physically and emotionally due to the strenuous work routine. Healthcare workflow automation helps the devices to capture and maintain patient health information in electronic form, allowing the physician to pay more attention to patient’s physical and mental concerns.
Frontline healthcare workers across the globe have witnessed the challenges and the risks during the recent global Coronavirus pandemic. The exhausted health workforce seized to work during a public health crisis. Despite the economic slowdown and inflation, the nation-states have enhanced budget allocations to modernize the health sector.
Maintains personalized Patient Medical History in Digital Form
Patients that suffer from chronic health issues like cancer, HIV/AIDS, Cardiac diseases, and kidney-related issues undergo treatment for a prolonged period. It is essential to maintain a personalized health record to determine the number of chemotherapy sessions or radiation sessions that a cancer patient should take, including the sessions already completed and the radiology slots yet to be administered. Any discrepancies in clinical and laboratory record maintenance will be chaotic, resulting in serious side effects, impacting the physical and mental health of the patient. Digital health information management adds accountability and transparency, as it documents the names and dates when the medical staff records information. It is difficult for unauthorized users to tamper it. The health workforce can act timely when personalized patient health information is available in digital form.
Standardizes the Health Communication Process
When a physician offers an oral suggestion or advice to the patient on diet or medication, it is difficult for the physician to recollect the same when the patient visits him the next time, after three months. Hand-written prescriptions that the patient maintains are always susceptible to getting damaged or lost. Electronic medical records preserve the patient’s medical history for the physician to review the disease progression and decide on treatment options.
Easy to Create and Maintain Customer/Patient Information
The hospitals can now create customized electronic templates to serve the diverse patient and hospital needs using any device, including mobiles. Hospital administrators and the clinical staff can start creating customized template documents for patient onboarding, billing, signing insurance, and signing various patient consent forms for hospital admission and treatment.
Ensures Privacy and Data Safety
With an 8.8 million population, New York is the most populated city in the US. According to the American Hospital Directory, 261 active hospitals in New York State in 2022. Eleven public hospitals and clinics under the NYC Health+ (HHC) serve 70 community-based primary care sites.
Let us consider the document management use cases here.
New Yorkers visit the HHC annually for 225,000 inpatient admissions, 1 million ER visits, and 5 million clinic visits. Public and community-based clinics can upload the electronically signed patient record through this document management platform to store the medical and health records of the patients, including case histories, images, clinical reports, medical prescriptions, and periodical follow-up visit records of each patient. When a hospital staff or health workforce uploads digitalized health records, patient health information gets sealed with an electronic signature.
Significance of Electronic Signature in Document Management
If all parties to a contract opt to utilize electronic documents and sign them electronically, the ESIGN Act of 2000 grants legal sanctity to electronic signatures and records. A healthcare provider can upload a patient health record with an electronic signature and a digital seal through a document management platform. The electronic signature platform automatically records the name of the person who uploaded the document with a date and time. The platform maintains a detailed log, registering the number of additions, deletions, and modifications made. None other than the authorized with the electronic signature can access the document, making the document tamper-proof.
Transparent Document Management with Digital Auditing Trial
The electronic signature with its digital stamp and seal preserves the document from tampering. This feature allows stakeholders to conduct an open digital audit trial, ensuring data safety and privacy for patient information, which may include sensitive financial transactions, bank account details, insurance policy numbers, and the details of credit and debit cards.
Streamlined Digital Hospital Experience
Digitization and automation of hospital workflow streamline hospital document management. Hospitals can store patients' medical and health records in a central repository with a digital indexing number. Healthcare providers can search, retrieve and archive patient information from this centralized place to diagnose, treat and plan for a patient-specific healthcare strategy. Digitization and workflow automation helps hospitals to offer end-to-end healthcare services from patient onboarding to exit without hindrance.
Document management platforms embedded with electronic signature features offer many opportunities for the health sector with a personalized and unique digital hospital experience for the patients. Document management platforms help hospitals streamline patient medical and health records. The Electronic signature locks the document effectively with a digital seal, making it untampered. Effective patient health record management helps hospitals reach patients quickly and efficiently with patient-centric services.