Every healthcare facility (small clinics, large hospitals, a medical research facility, pharmaceutical, local pharmacy, etc.) invariably faces one challenge; medical record maintenance.
The healthcare industry contributes the largest share of the total enterprise data generated worldwide annually due to the many documentation requirements it contains. If you’re a part of this industry with a healthcare facility of your own, then your solution to maintaining the accuracy of your medical records is medical records indexing.
The process of record indexing consists of arranging and maintaining a patient’s medical reports according to a specified order that you or another person/authority has determined. You can have your facility’s medical records categorized based on their chronological, alphabetical, and numerical sequences. You can apply constraints like physician specialty, name, DOS, etc. Or, you could use a custom methodology if that’s more convenient. A well-indexed database can do wonders for your healthcare facility’s operational efficiency by making your central data repository easily accessible and organized.
The Benefits of Indexing Medical Records
1. Easy Database Management
When there is the inevitability of large volumes of medical data, there is a need for excellent management practices regarding your facility’s database. Whether the storage is in-house or in the cloud, it must always be maintained at peak quality if it has to serve as the single source of data. The volume, lack of technical skill, time constraints, and other factors steer the execution of this task far away from the ideal situation. And a medical facility operating with data ambiguity is a recipe for disaster.
Indexing helps stave off the worst effects of poor database management. With the correct categorization of documents and even their contents, your IT team and software tool will know where to palace what without confusion. This placement also enables speedy retrieval at crucial times, especially when a patient requires critical care quickly and staff needs to access their records.
2. Prevention of Legal Issues
Many things can go wrong when treating a patient due to the complexities involved in the process. And when that does happen occasionally, your healthcare facility will bear the brunt of the patient’s ire. Your facility could be hit with a lawsuit relating to medical malpractice, which is very serious. Even at best, you stand to lose money, and your brand suffers a reputation hit.
One of the biggest reasons for medical deaths is misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis is brought about by a slew of factors, one of which is unclear medical information in records or the unavailability of a patient’s medical record document. Misplacement of medical records is one of the biggest causes of the latter scenario, especially in physical form.
Medical records indexing services can prevent that by carefully segregating medical records. This makes it easy to find the necessary document by the concerned person and gain the knowledge for correct patient condition assessment. This way, you are nipping the possibility of a lawsuit coming your way in the bud.
3. Cost Savings
Data management for any field is a resource-intensive process. One of the resources it could drain in large quantities is money. This is the case with in-house indexing since you’ll be paying for the hiring, maintenance, and release of multiple experts. There will also be additional expenses associated with office space, equipment, tools, etc.
With medical records data being of high volume, the dent this puts in your budget will be significant. Simultaneously, unorganized medical records open the door to many needless monetary losses, the above-mentioned example being a case in point. This situation is stopped from occurring by outsourcing records indexing.
The correct organization of records reduces the chances of medical and administrative mishaps, thereby preventing losses. The improved data management due to the categorization allows you to better estimate the investment needed for your IT infrastructure, thus bringing down excess expenditure related to it. Losses resulting from delays due to data retrieval problems are also eliminated.
On top of all that, you get the cost savings associated with outsourcing. The economies of scale at the outsourcing agency’s end reduce your indexing’s overall cost. If the agency is situated in a developing country, you also gain the savings associated with currency exchange values. It’s a win-win situation for everyone concerned, including the patient, as you can then pass on the cost savings to them.
4. Easy Financial Investments
Investing your profits to scale and reach your goals quickly requires a thorough understanding of your present business situation. Only data you can be sure of can give you the confidence to take risks necessary for growth. By indexing your medical records, you get that data confirmation since there is a reduction in ambiguity. Your passive investments will especially benefit from it.
5. Better Market Segment Grouping
From a business point of view, your facility’s patients are your customers. And just like customers for any other business, they come in varieties. Some require simple treatments, like for the flu, and others need critical care in the ICU. Thus, you can create market segments based on these requirements, along with demographic and behavioral segmentation.
This segmentation helps you to distribute your resources better to run your facility. Medical record indexing plays an important role with its ability to provide clear categorization of information. The categorization paves the way for easy segmentation by being the first step towards it.
6. Precise Information Exchange
Standardization is a critical component of data management since it aligns raw data with an established standard. Indexing medical records into various categories have the same effect since a standard order of data identification gets introduced. This forms the bedrock of clear communication that is essential for all stakeholders of the healthcare facility, including the patients.
Since patients are most likely not adept at using medical terminology, having an indexed record of standardized data helps them make clearer interpretations. There won’t be any ambiguity between various concerned staff when they need to communicate with each other using the records. The indexation also helps healthcare apps used by patients to extract relevant health data and display it to them. The same with medical staff using software to get important data in the records.
7. Quicker Claims Processing
If there is one thing that causes insurers to reject claims, it’s wrongful medical information included in the claims form. It could happen due to a host of reasons and come from either the patient’s side or a facility’s administration. Poor record maintenance certainly adds to this problem, as without indexing, it can be hard for billers to search for and write the right information in the forms. Also, not finding the right file in time could lead to delays in making claims, another major reason for claim rejection.
8. Improved Collaboration
Healthcare facilities of all types rely on outside partners to fulfill their various needs, like oxygen supply and medications. Indexed medical records will help your facility better anticipate demand and place orders accordingly. Thai helps establish better working relationships between your establishment and your suppliers/vendors.
9. Flawless Compliance
Compliance is everything in the healthcare industry, including documentation. Rules like HIPAA that protect the fundamental rights of patients must be adhered to. It’s the same with the financial side of things, with insurance and other transactions being processed without discrepancies for taxation purposes.
The improved organization of medical information provided by indexing helps you to locate compliance issues and rectify them quickly and clearly. Hence, with indexing, you avoid the problems that come with not going by regulations and mandatory standards.
Records have made our civilization possible, helping us store vital information for a long time so that it’s not lost with time. Medical records do the same for patients throughout their lifetime and sometimes after. Indexing that data further enhances its usability.
The only major challenge with medical record indexing is that it is a time-taking process that requires careful monitoring and management. However, you can easily overcome that challenge by outsourcing data management. With a dedicated team offering medical records indexing services, you create the right conditions for medical records to fulfill their purpose to the best extent for both the patient and your facility.
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