reduce medical record storage

How to Reduce Medical Record Storage Cost in Healthcare

For companies, facilities, and individuals looking at how to reduce medical record storage cost in healthcare there are some options. Reducing costs is a vital area for healthcare. Many facilities and medical complexes operate on very tight margins, and face struggles with rising expenses and ongoing shortages. These issues are often due to cost reduction measures that are ineffective, at best.

One of the most common ways to reduce cost is through the use of electronic records for patients. Since these don’t take up physical space the same way paper records do, they can be stored in the cloud and on servers instead of in file cabinets and boxes. Without the need for a large-scale storage space it’s possible to bring down the costs and make record storage less expensive and more efficient.

How Does EMR (Electronic Medical Records) Reduce Cost?

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) contribute significantly to cost reduction within the healthcare industry. By digitizing patient information and medical histories, EMRs streamline numerous processes that lead to more efficient use  and lower costs.

One of the reasons that EMRs are popular for cost-cutting is that they  eliminate the need for physical storage space and paper-based records, decreasing costs associated with paper, ink, and storage facilities. This transition to digital records reduces the administrative burden of manual record-keeping and allows staff to focus on more value-added tasks.

Additionally, EMRs enhance communication and coordination among healthcare providers. The instant access to patient data means faster diagnosis and treatment decisions, reducing the length of hospital stays and lowering the percentage of unnecessary tests. This expedites patient care, leading to reduced healthcare costs due to decreased utilization of resources.

Another reason to consider EMRs is that they  facilitate more accurate billing and coding processes. This reduces billing errors and the potential for  fraudulent claims, leading to improved revenue cycle management and preventing financial losses.

EMRs also enable better management of chronic conditions through proactive alerts and reminders, potentially averting costly emergencies or hospitalizations. Electronic records lead to cost savings by optimizing resource allocation, streamlining workflows, minimizing errors, and enabling informed decision-making. 

Can You Reduce the Cost of Care and Still Provide Great Quality of Care?

For those who push back against EMR the argument is usually that reducing the cost of care will mean compromising quality. Fortunately, that’s not really the case. This is a common misconception, and it’s one that can be quickly dispelled.

Rather than compromising patient care, electronic patient records actually improve the quality of care that patients receive. Having efficient record storage, management, and access means medical professionals can get to records faster and discover areas where patient care can be improved or adjusted. That can mean additional tests, a change in medications, and other factors that help patients get diagnosed, heal quickly, and live healthier lives. 

Timely treatment and  better coordination between caregivers and others in the medical profession are just two of the ways that EMRs improve the care patients receive while still helping medical providers and facilities keep their costs down.

Exploring Healthcare Data Storage Options

There are numerous options for storing medical records. These various healthcare data storage solutions cater to the complex needs of medical information management, and each option has distinct features and advantages.

  1. Electronic Medical Records (EMR): EMRs are digital versions of paper charts, containing patient histories, diagnoses, treatments, medications, and other relevant medical information. They’re stored in secure databases accessible to authorized healthcare providers, enhancing care coordination and reducing paper-related costs.
  2. Electronic Health Records (EHR): EHRs are broader in scope, including not only medical information but also comprehensive patient health data, often spanning across different healthcare facilities. EHRs enable seamless data exchange between various providers for more holistic patient care.
  3. Personal Health Records (PHR): PHRs are controlled by patients themselves, allowing them to maintain their health data. These records can include medical history, test results, and lifestyle information. PHRs empower patients to actively manage their health and share relevant data with healthcare professionals.
  4. Health Information Exchanges (HIE): HIEs enable secure sharing of patient data among different healthcare organizations. This promotes better care coordination, especially in emergency situations, while adhering to stringent privacy and security standards.
  5. Cloud-based Storage: Cloud solutions offer scalable and accessible storage for healthcare data, allowing providers to store and access information remotely. Cloud storage offers flexibility and  disaster recovery capabilities, and may also lower infrastructure costs.
  6. Hybrid Storage: Data warehouses aggregate and store large volumes of physical healthcare records, and cloud storage does the same but for electronic records. This hybrid option provides a secure backup to prevent data loss. With careful management of these storage options there’s far less risk of losing important information that’s needed for quality patient care. If data is lost in one place it can typically be recovered in another. 

No matter how data is stored, data purging will be needed to free up storage space. Knowing what to purge and when is vital to ensuring that important patient data isn’t lost. Proper purging methods mean all relevant and current data is kept, reducing the chances of a problem and ensuring that space is available when it’s needed. 

5 Strategies to Reduce Medical Record Storage Cost

1. Digitization of Documents

Transitioning from physical paper records to electronic medical records (EMR) significantly reduces storage costs. EMRs streamline data storage, retrieval, and sharing, eliminating the need for physical storage space, paper, and associated maintenance costs. This digital transformation also enhances data security and accessibility.

2. Implementing a Document Management System

Once documents are created they have to be managed efficiently in order to be valuable and effective. Especially in healthcare, where the accuracy of a document and the ability to locate it quickly could literally be life and death for a patient, proper management is vital. Having strong organization makes finding records efficient, and efficiency is known to lower costs.

3. Establishing Retention Policies

Implementing a well-defined record retention policy helps eliminate outdated and unnecessary records. It also allows for regular reviews and purging of records that no longer serve legal or medical purposes. This reduces storage volume and associated expenses while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

4. Secure Document Destruction

Not only do documents have to be stored correctly and securely, but they also have to be destroyed in the right way. These documents have private medical and personal information in them, and if they aren’t correctly disposed of they could lead to data that ends up in the wrong hands. Additionally, there could be problems with records that pile up and require costly storage even though they’re no longer needed.

5. Optimizing Offsite and Cloud-Based Options

Cloud-based storage options offer scalable solutions that can adapt to your storage needs no matter the size of your medical facility. If physical records must be retained, optimizing  offsite storage solutions can also reduce costs through less need for storage space at your facility. Often, a combination of the two approaches is the most cost effective and provides the best level of security for reducing data loss.

Smart Solutions for Medical Record Storage Costs

Because so many healthcare providers and facilities struggle with keeping costs low and quality high, finding ways to reduce the costs of medical records storage can provide significant value beyond just a lower price. This cost reduction can come with improved patient care, ease of access, and stronger management of records for security and peace of mind.

It truly is possible to achieve cost reduction in your medical records storage without compromising the quality of patient care. Patients are your number one priority and the right storage solutions for medical records will keep your costs low and also help you prioritize those patients. Ready to implement cost-saving strategies through outsourcing your medical records to professionals? The right partnership with a trusted document storage company can make all the difference when it comes to reducing costs while strengthening the quality of  patient care. Reach out to us at Archive Corp today for your medical records management and records storage needs.

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