As you may remember from our most recent post in our series exploring the archive continuum, we examined the options and use cases available at the low-functionality end of the spectrum. Here, we shift our focus to archives with high functionality.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by “high functionality” and what we mean by “EMR-minus-one.” In the simplest terms, this type of archive is basically a step below an EMR – hence the label, “EMR-1.”
Most of the data may be changed or modified in some way, release of information (ROI) is very sophisticated and the system offers many filters and output formats to ensure optimized reporting. In addition, clinicians may review data in this type of archive system in real-time while providing patient care. And, because these are fluid systems, the data in them may be appended – even missing documents may be scanned in and added – and any changes automatically post to the appropriate archival record. A high-functionality archive will also produce claims on demand and interface with a claims scrubber, reducing the likelihood of a claim being denied or rejected.
Like we said: high functionality.
Now that we understand a little bit about how the these high-functionality archives or EMR-1 systems work, let’s get into why an organization may want to use them. Here’s a hint: It’s because most of the data may be edited.
Accurate legal clinical records
If any information was wrong or missing in a patient record before it was archived, having the ability to correct it in the archive itself protects the integrity of those records. Updating incorrect patient information, from demographics to insurance information, ensures the legal account of a patient’s visit — the name(s) of the clinician(s) providing care, the medical codes assigned, etc. — is accurate. For clinicians, the ability to edit the clinical data via strikethroughs, amend it by adding notes and adding scanned documents to the patient’s archival record provides additional insight to care decisions.
Ability to work down Accounts Receivable and file claims
The administrative side of the organization also finds significant benefit to being able to modify archival data. Charges to a patient’s account may be posted, altered, or reversed – none of which may be performed in a cold-storage format and all of which are normal functions of a patient accounting business unit. The ability to add intake and post-transaction notes to the file from external sources further allows business units to continue to work with the legacy data, creating claims files and statements to export for evaluation.
Comprehensive Release of Information and reporting
Finally, these high-functionality archive systems have significant ROI capabilities. Users may create, save and deploy custom reports through the user interface. The systems offer various templates for data sorting or filtering to modify the reports as needed to maximize reporting for ROI. By integrating the system with an enterprise-level ROI tool, these reports may be scheduled and automatically delivered, saving both the time and expense of manually generating and circulating them.
Like cold-storage options, the archive systems at this end of the spectrum also offer continued access to data for reporting or compliance issues – they just do so in a much easier, more user-friendly way. Where they truly differentiate themselves is in their ability to allow users to access and modify the data stored in them. Being able to update records, correct patient information, add clinician notes and continue to perform billing tasks is a major advantage of EMR-1, high-functionality archives.
Next up, we’ll explore those use cases that are somewhere in between these extremes.
About the Author:
Dr. Shelly Disser began developing strategies, methodologies and processes to enable health enterprises to efficiently archive, manage and activate legacy data more than 20 years ago. She founded one of the first data archiving companies for the health sector, competing solely with MediQuant. Shelly led the company for 15 years, selling it in 2014 to develop her own consulting firm for healthcare services. In 2017, Shelly joined her old competitor MediQuant to help lead the company supporting client advocacy. Today, this industry leader is vice president of solution delivery – offering her expertise in management, data strategy and analysis.