Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Legal Backup of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR)

Christina Theilst of Christina's Considerations links to an interesting article, Backing up EHRs, appearing online in Advance for Health Information Professionals.

The article recognizes the importance for hospitals to maintain the continuity fo the electronic health records. As we move down the continuum of conversion from paper to entirely electronic based records the need for maintaining continuity of the legal record becomes more important.

The practical importance of maintaining a legal backup of the EMR is highlights by this quote from the article:
. . . But some hospital executives will find that when an attorney’s release of information (ROI) form lands on their desk, their EMR information will be lacking.

Whether the Joint Commission comes calling, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is performing an audit of claims, or payers and the legal community are requesting a hospital to pull records for a specific case, provider organizations should be able to quickly access complete medical records, not just portions of the record, and send them out electronically with little or no administrative burden. . .

In her post Christina states:
"One of my former 'hats' was that of risk manager. Once you have been one, you can never seem to really take off that 'hat', so here is a link to an article in Advance for Health Information Professionals that addresses hospital's maintaining a complete legal record of a stored EMR that compiles defined information as fulfilling legal requirements."

Christina's blog covers a variety of topics of interested to those in the health care industry, including coving the growth and development of regional health information organizations (RHIOs), health information technology and other cutting edge issues for hosptals and health providers. If you haven't already -- be sure to add her blog to your RSS reader.

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