The Peterborough Regional Health Centre of Ontario, Canada, will soon transition to a paperless document management system for patient records. The $53 million project is set to be released in phases over the next 10 years.
The new system is expected to make the daily workload easier for the center’s staff. Having tablet-based information will help eliminate the need to repeat information and it will allow staff to easily share records with other healthcare providers, according to MyKawartha.com. Currently placed at a 2 out of 7 on the HIMSS scale, the hospital plans to implement the solution between 2016 and 2019 in order to increase their paper conservation efforts, potentially moving them to level 6 on the chart.
The main benefit of this system for the health center will be the ability to quickly find information for the patients. Where paper files may be tucked away in obscure places or pages may go missing, the electronic system will allow the doctors to access accurate, up-to-date records without shifting through other files. It will also help the doctors to have less medication mix-ups thanks to its data entry automation features.
Here are some common paper related pains hospitals can solve by going paperless, said John Bergquist of technology provider Binary Office, Inc.
“If you have a paper copy over here with the patient, it’s not available over here for another staff member, or for the caregiver,” hospital CEO Ken Tremblay said to MyKawartha.com. “If you had an X-ray in Ottawa, but can’t remember the results, this will mean we can deal with the issue quickly.”
Paperless efforts are worth the price
While the initial cost can throw off many adopters, the cost savings and the overall better quality of patient care makes the system appealing to many healthcare providers. In part because of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, hospitals have to adopt the measure in order to continue receiving benefits for Medicare and Medicaid, but healthcare providers can also receive financial grants to offset some of the system’s expenses. However, only 1.9 percent of hospitals in the nation have gone completely paperless based on the HIMSS scale, according to recent report data. Out of the nation’s hospitals and eligible providers, 20 percent are in the final three levels of the HIMSS scale.
The paperless system has also been proven to improve patient’s well-being. According to a John Hopkins study of over 40 hospitals and 160,000 patients, the system has the potential to save 100,000 lives annually. The reduction of data entry errors was also connected to decreases in the odds of death from heart attacks,coronary artery disease and related complications.
Whether the facilities are fueled by the financial incentives or the proven increase of quality in patient care, medical centers will benefit greatly from paperless systems.