How Electronic Systems Can Help You Manage Patient Information

ND Medina

January 8, 2020

Medical office management isn’t easy, and managing patient information is a big part of what makes it so difficult. Patient records are governed by strict government rules about confidentiality and what you can and cannot share with other entities, As stated on HHS.gov, HIPAA “establishes a national set of security standards for protecting certain health information that is held or transferred in electronic form.” 


This means that keeping patient health information secure takes priority. That said, there are some key areas for improvement when it comes to managing a medical office, and many of them have to do with streamlining the management of patient information. 

EHR systems


Electronic health records (EHR) such as Formstack or Advanced MD offer the opportunity to ditch paper forms. This is a win for several reasons. 


First of all, filing, filling out, scanning, faxing, printing, copying, stapling, and organizing paperwork is a loss for productivity in your office and steals valuable patient-facing time away from your team. It may even force you to hire someone whose job is to wrangle the paperwork, which costs you money unnecessarily. Such a position is often one of high turnover, meaning you’ll have to train people for the position repeatedly. The use of EHR eliminates all of these considerations. 


Second of all, an EHR system not only contains information, it easily manipulates it as well. Among other benefits, this means: 


  • Your EHR can automatically check for conflicts when a new medication is prescribed and alert you to such conflicts
  • Your EHR can alert emergency department personnel to information about any life-threatening allergies a patient has, enabling emergency staff to tweak care appropriately even if the patient is unconscious or cannot communicate
  • Your EHR can help you quickly identify operational problems from a systematic perspective -- and correct them, which can take years to do in a traditional paper-based system


What does all of this lead to? Improved patient outcomes, error reduction, better patient safety standards, happier patients and even higher gross income. For example, one study reported that a particular rural practice, after implementing EHR, saw the following results: 


  • Increased use of ICD code 99214 by 11%
  • Average billable gain of $26/patient
  • Increased revenue by >100K during the study period


eRx systems

Electronic prescribing, which is also known as e-prescribing or eRx, is a way that your healthcare team can send your prescriptions to pharmacies (such as Medly Pharmacy) electronically. 


This bypasses the traditional pharmacy experience, where your doctor hand-writes a prescription and then has you take it to your pharmacy. Instead, your doctor orders your medication through their office computer, which sends a secure electronic prescription to your pharmacy. 


Electronic prescribing has many benefits. These benefits include: 


  • Reduced mistakes caused by notoriously messy doctor’s handwriting or your pharmacist accidentally misreading the abbreviations your doctor uses for prescriptions
  • Avoids drug conflicts by alerting your doctor that the drug ordered may interact harmfully with a medication you are already on
  • Lets your doctor see what medications are on your health plan’s drug formulary, which helps make sure the drug the doctor is ordering will be covered by your insurance 


Electronic systems can make managing patient information much easier and more profitable for your practice. In order to reduce errors, increase your practice’s income and raise the efficiency level of your office, it may be the right move for your practice to switch to an EHR system and begin the use of eRx. Hopefully, the benefits listed above help you understand how and why a switch to a more electronic system can improve your practice.