In the late 1990s, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) study, "Computer-based Patient Record Systems—The Essential Technology for Health Care," depicted a computer-based, longitudinal, lifelong, integrated patient record that included entries from all healthcare providers. Since then, many vendors have created technological solutions addressing various "points of pain" within healthcare. These companies have focused on areas which they perceived to be inefficient and in need of automation. Today, there is a staggering myriad of solutions available to hospitals, medical practices, and IDNs, making it necessary to wade through the options to find the best solution. This white paper will discuss strategies healthcare organizations should consider when implementing technologies to achieve a compliant Electronic Health Record.
No matter which solution is selected, one of the most important issues facing healthcare providers is Compliance with record-keeping guidelines under HIPAA regulations. Under these guidelines, healthcare organizationsmust ensure that their operational systems are compliant with providing full audit trails, addressing HIPAA security and transaction standards, adapting to future regulatory developments, and protecting and certifying data erasure. Without a strong and comprehensive compliance program, healthcare organizations are at risk of not protecting patient-specific data from potential loss, unauthorized modification, and unauthorized access.
To provide operational efficiencies, healthcare organizations are planning to invest in nonproprietary solutions that are being offered by these companies. The status of "Non-proprietary" makes these choices more powerful for the healthcare technology user as they allow a healthcare organization the freedom to shop for and choose the best scheduling package, the best billing package, the best electronic medical record (EMR), the best pharmacy system, and the best diagnostics package. And usually these programs come from different and competing vendors.