The IT industry has been working on various iterations of the so called “paperless office.” Across the industry, antiquated paper based forms have been converted to the digital world. Customer profile sheets, product inventory lists, order histories and product manuals are just some of the many examples of paper based forms that were saved for decades in rooms full of filing cabinets, and have now by and large been replaced by the customer database, product website, or other database driven application. In the health care industry, the move to the paperless office is primarily focusing on the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).

So, if you have a family friend or member who is doctor, here’s the best gift that you can give.

A unique but beneficial gift for doctors- EMR

The first major benefit to moving to an electronic medical record system is the ability to move from a cumbersome paper based system to a paperless digital system. The benefits can have a direct effect on the monthly financial bottom line for smaller and midsized offices. With the reduction or elimination of full rows, or in many cases full rooms, full of file cabinets, the savings in terms of available office space. This saved space can be reused in the form of new offices, clinic rooms or an extended waiting room.

Another great benefit to EMR is the increase in efficiency and reduction of errors. Paper based systems are prone to redundancy and misinformation, especially as the folder files age and grow in size. An online system automatically organizes files in an electronic filing system for you. Also, errors in patient information can be fixed much easier and the information that once may have been spread among several paper files are now located in a single digital file. Finding the information in the EMR database system is also much easier and faster than in a paper based system. Instead of asking the customer to wait while the receptionist goes into to the back file room to dig up customer records, a quick search on the computer can be done right there while the customer is checking in at the reception desk. This can make a marked improvement in customer service, and as your clinic grows in size, the efficiencies gained by switching to digital patient files is all but essential in today’s fast paced culture.

One of the most effective benefits to moving to digitized electronic medical records from the traditional paper file based systems is the ability to collaborate online with other entities. For instance, patient EMRs can be transferred from one clinic to another easily when a patient changes doctors. Also, if collaboration with a specialist is needed for a patient, doctors can work in tandem with each other and not have to fax or send copies of paper files between the two medical clinics. Hospitals can also gain access to files immediately, or if the patient needs emergency treatment out of state, say, if the patient is on vacation and needs to be admitted to the emergency room, the EMR files can be electronically transferred from one computer system to another with little hassle.

If none of these reasons are enough to convince you to move to electronic medical records, the federal government has mandated that all health care providers move to an electronic medical system by 2014. If the medical institution is able to meet the minimum requirements for what the government calls Fair Use, the medical institution may be eligible for a tax rebate. In order to help offset the costs of the implementation of an electronic medical record system, the government is offering up to $44,000 in tax incentives as long as the institution can meet certain minimum requirements before 2014. On the flip side, if it takes the institution longer than 2014 to implement the changes, that institution could face financial penalties.

Author Byline

The post is shared by Jason Philips, a philanthropist who works in Los Angeles. He supplies electronic medical record to various organizations.