There are numerous benefits to electronic medical records (EMR), also known as electronic health records, and these can include improved patient care, better diagnostics, and happier outcomes.
For senior living organizations, EMR can represent a major way to improve care coordination while realizing cost efficiencies at the same time. But even if your staff and residents are ready, will your IT infrastructure be up to the task? Here are five ways to tell:
1. Your security controls are top notch
When it comes to EMR specifically, there are several regulations like HIPAA that will come into play, as well as general patient confidentiality issues. Dealing with these electronic records requires a comprehensive security setup for all aspects of your infrastructure, including network access, risk analysis procedures, resident device usage, and software updates. Making security an ongoing and top priority will be hugely beneficial when you’re ready to implement EMR in your senior living operation.
2. You use remote health monitoring
Electronic records are more than health information in a digital form. They present the opportunity for more effective care coordination, by putting all of a resident’s data into a searchable format. That allows for greater preventative strategies and care coordination, because you can spot trends, integrate fall monitoring if needed, and provide remote health monitoring. An IT system that plays a central role in monitoring the wellness of residents is ready for EMR to be incorporated into its functionality.
3. Your system provides quality of care measures
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is very focused on quality measures that demand transparency and accountability from senior living organizations. Meeting these measures is essential for ensuring reimbursement and maintaining occupancy rates. With a system that’s organized and robust enough to handle EMR, you’ll likely be adept that keeping track of quality of care measures.
4. Your bandwidth has plenty of capacity
Much like other types of data, EMR needs to have sufficient bandwidth in order to be stored, categorized, accessed, and recovered if necessary. Successful senior living operations understand that it’s not enough to have resident Wi-Fi handled by a commercial router — a network has to be designed and implemented in a way that can expand over time. That allows greater data to be stored and used, including EMR.
5. You’ve got the support you need
With any kind of technology, including EMR, it’s not enough to focus on implementation. You need a plan that includes hardware and software support, help desk backup, healthcare-specific insight, and training that’s meaningful and effective for your staff. Without this kind of support in place, it’s likely that your uptime requirements may be affected, and that could cause issues with EMR and other data.
If any of these areas are lacking, that doesn’t mean you have to watch the benefits of EMR dissipate. Hiring a healthcare IT consultant can go a long way toward creating a system that’s EMR-friendly, scalable, and robust enough for healthcare industry changes.