HealthWare Systems Blog

Health Records Management: 3 Ingredients for Efficiency and Success

Posted on Thu, Dec 10, 2015

Despite massive efforts and incentive programs, the nation’s health information infrastructure is still plagued by gaping holes. As a result, health records management and health information exchange are two enormous, open-ended questions.

As of 2014, 83 percent of physicians had adopted electronic health record systems, as had 75 percent of hospitals. Simultaneously, industry leaders have launched some very ambitious interoperability alliances and HIE programs, in order to promote secure, efficient data exchange—taking into account the many different vendor platforms and different levels of provider adoption (basic versus certified EHRs).

Meanwhile, the push behind effective health records management is getting stronger. Hospitals and health systems are, as ever, concerned about concrete, bottom-line implications: staff productivity and HIPAA compliance… But they’re also working toward some of the broader agendas that will underscore the future of healthcare: better care coordination, higher quality of care, and improved patient outcomes. Federal mandates pertaining to “transitions of care” (TOC) now mean hospitals and providers will have to get better at exchanging information along the care continuum. TOC summaries are among the mandates for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

And yet, in the midst of so many changes and forward-thinking initiatives, these health records realities remain:

  • EHR adoption among small and rural hospitals has hit a plateau.
  • Most physicians aren’t using all basic EHR functionalities.
  • Faxed healthcare documents aren’t going away.

So whether you’re already using electronic health records technology, or whether you’re among the 32 percent of hospitals without even a basic EHR, you can’t afford to wait for budget, buy-in, national adoption, and seamless data exchange standards.

Right now your facility is losing time, money, and compliance points because health record inputs and workflows are fragmented. What can you do about it? Look for a solution that has the capacity to work in tandem with EHRs of all types and inbound faxes to your server or physical fax machines. Specifically, look for a solution with these features:

A Central Repository

In addition to the burden of having to manually scan and save fax documents into EHRs, disparate efforts within your different departments lead to siloed repositories. Pieces of the same patient’s record may be stored on different networks with different naming conventions. Having one central image repository—one that can accept and process not only traditional fax, but electronic faxes as well—is essential for comprehensive health records management and data exchanges.

Within your central repository, each document (image) should be self-contained and encrypted. The tool should be audited for HIPAA compliance, so that every activity associated with a given document is recorded. Apart from ActiveXCHANGE, we don’t know of a health records management solution that offers this kind of auditing, encryption, and controls over user access.

Workflow and Indexing

When you’re managing documents from different inputs and partners—sometimes hundreds per day—another powerful feature you need on hand is a workflow driver with automatic indexing. Many facilities don’t have built-in, digital processes to go behind a faxed physician order, for example, because they don’t know it’s possible. With ActiveXCHANGE, it’s easy to build a custom workflow (approvals, reviews, rejection protocols) behind any type of document received. Each document is automatically indexed, as well, with consistent naming conventions for simple search and retrieval. It’s completely up to you and your end users as to how to configure each workflow’s look and feel, while executing in the most efficient manner.

A Release Engine to Third-Party Systems

ActiveXCHANGE supports release and import engines capable of sending and receiving images from other third-party applications or system processes. That means if your facility already has an EHR in place, you don’t need to print and scan electronic faxes in order to load them into your system. ActiveXCHANGE can be supplemented with a forms module, which enables the publishing and auto-printing of forms relating to release of information to HIEs. ActiveXCHANGE also supports the ability to receive orders directly from electronic ordering systems, regardless of the source.

Curious to see how ActiveXCHANGE could improve your approach to health records management? Request a 15-minute demo today.