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Electronic Health Records Systems: Why Your Holistic Practice Needs One

Electronic health records systems are a huge resource to utilize in your holistic practice, no matter the size of your business. While it might seem easier and more cost-effective to just maintain whatever paper file folder system you’re already using, making the switch to an EHR system is an overall more efficient strategy for streamlining your operations, both in the short and long run.

EHR systems have the capacity to enhance patient care, further fortify your patients’ information and sensitive data, and can save you time by eliminating clunky workflows. Plus, EHR systems are scalable for your future growth—perfect for if, or when, you decide to add more holistic practitioners to your practice or include more specialties to serve another population within your community.

On the other hand, there are a few things to keep in mind when making the switch to an EHR system, including HIPAA compliance regulations and potential cybersecurity threats. Keep reading to learn more about electronic health records systems and their advantages to your holistic practice!

What Does An EHR System Manage?

An electronic health records (EHR) system is exactly what it sounds like: a virtual, centralized collection of patient information and healthcare history. An EHR system updates patient information in real-time, which helps to deliver a well-rounded, patient-focused experience.

Additionally, other authorized parties or entities are able to see these real-time updates, which helps minimize friction in the patient’s overall wellness journey. Seeing multiple factors relating to a patient’s health in one spot enables a broader overview of their health overall.

Electronic health record systems can include:

  • Medical history
  • Diagnoses
  • Medications
  • Treatment plans and notes
  • Allergies
  • Lab results
  • And more!

Even if your holistic practice doesn’t directly deal with labs or x-rays, it’s still quite helpful to have access to that information regarding your patients. For example, if you have a new massage therapy patient who recently got a sports injury, being able to review their x-rays will enable you to see how you can alleviate pain from the injury.

Plus, adding your holistic practice’s involvement with the patient’s wellness journey is beneficial for their other providers. This also ensures that the patient is following through on their healthcare journey so that they can achieve the best results possible with a well-rounded approach to their wellness.

Overall, EHR systems help streamline a patient’s overall healthcare journey and enable collaborative care across authorized providers and other medical practices.

HIPAA Compliance for EHR

As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that requires the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.” Essentially, this Act establishes protections for the use and sharing of personal health information and secures a patient’s privacy.

To complement this Act and account for the rapid advancement of technology in the healthcare industry, the HITECH Act was later introduced. In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) was signed into law and determines technological requirements that align with HIPAA, such as encouraging the use of electronic health records to further secure sensitive patient data.

Furthermore, the HIPAA Security Rule, officially approved in 2003, also outlines a national set of security standards for safeguarding electronic personal health information (ePHI). This guarantees that all authorized parties are following good cybersecurity practices when handling sensitive patient information.

As defined by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Security Rule essentially declares that covered entities must:

  • Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all e-PHI they create, receive, maintain or transmit
  • Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the information
  • Protect against reasonably anticipated, impermissible uses or disclosures
  • Ensure compliance by their workforce

Ensuring HIPAA compliance includes maintaining compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule, which is crucial to protecting your patient data since the healthcare industry is constantly under attack. In 2021 alone, there were more than 700 healthcare breaches.

Benefits of An EHR System

Utilizing an EHR system is important for your holistic practice

Implementing an EHR system comes with a variety of benefits for your patients and your holistic practice, including:

Streamlined Collaboration

Since patients are taking their care into their own hands, they’re researching and selecting providers that they want to receive care from. This means they have a lot of freedom in where they spend their time and money—so it behooves you and your holistic practice to utilize an EHR system that enables streamlined communication between your patient’s other providers. In fact, a recent study revealed that 30% of seniors see an average of 5 providers each year.

Organized Patient Data

With a digital record, you won’t have to worry about digging through stacks of files or misplacing a patient’s record. Nor will you have to worry about illegible handwriting! An electronic health records system handles all of it in one centralized place. This optimizes your workflows and empowers you and your staff to work from the same file instead of compiling multiple points of information for the patient.

Enhanced Cybersecurity Protections

While, yes, you need to practice good cybersecurity habits when dealing with your patient’s sensitive information—and with your daily holistic practice operations, in general—an electronic health records system is built-in with digital protections and can offer some peace of mind when mitigating cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities.

Partner with Holistic Billing Services to Streamline Your Practice!

EHR systems are simply one component of your holistic practice’s operations—yes, they’re impactful in delivering quality care to your patients, but that’s not all it takes to run a successful practice. For example, your medical billing and coding processes. We know that the revenue cycle is a vital yet stressful part of your daily operations, and Holistic Billing Services is here to help!
Let our team of specialty-specific experts handle that responsibility so you can focus on what matters most: caring for your patients. Contact us today!

April 5, 2022
 - by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME
Electronic health records systems can benefit your practice
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