An ounce of prevention: Getting data into the EMR

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, reduce medical errors through better documentation. Which one of these expressions do we tend to remember? In healthcare we hear quite a bit of talk these days on reducing medical errors. Of course this is with good reason. When getting data into the EMR, errors such as inaccurate or delayed results, can negatively impact patient health and lead to extended hospital stays, unnecessary treatment or worse. As a matter of fact, many healthcare organizations are now striving to eliminate mistakes and streamline efficiency by adopting principles such as Six Sigma and other business practices which are designed to continuously evaluate and improve best practices. One such axiom is the 1-10-100 rule from Total Quality Management.The rule states that failure to take notice of one cost, such as prevention (less costly), can result in eventual greater costs to correct or to remedy the problem.

Of course in healthcare these figures could be 1-10-100-1000 and so on as medical costs can quickly spiral as more treatment is needed. However as mentioned earlier, many healthcare organizations have been adopting electronic medical record systems and are seeing great results from improving workflow processes which can help reduce the incidence of errors.

Here at Extract Systems many of our customers have been using our intelligent data extraction software to measure and reduce data entry errors and provide quality assurance. Our customers have found that our software inherently switches the data entry person, or Medical Technologist, into a QA person. Instead of inputting data (which can introduce errors), they are verifying the data the system has captured in the required fields.

Customers typically send a random percentage of documents to a supervisor or another QA person. They can then review and correct errors, and also track accuracy rates. It really depends on your preference. Either way, it's an ounce of prevention -- or reducing medical errors through better documentation. We've got you covered.

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About the Author: Joseph Smith

With over 15 years experience working with large hospitals and health systems in both HIS and communication platforms, Joseph Smith helps healthcare organizations streamline data entry to enable fast access to critical information. He blogs on topics relating to advanced data capture, and automating workflows.