3 ways Indexing your Patient Records increases patient risk

patient records matter - picture of ambulance in motion

Mistakes can happen in your medical group at any time. Most of them are small and can be easily corrected with only a minor disruption; some mistakes have the potential to be serious and cause patient harm. 

But when mistakes happen in your patient records, the consequences can be severe. Beyond the impact these kinds of mistakes might have on your reimbursements and quality ratings, missing or incorrect patient data can lead to dangerous oversights, misdiagnoses, or prescribing the wrong medication. 

Potential mistakes will always place patient safety at risk, and they must be avoided whenever possible. Ensuring the accuracy of your data is one of the most important things you can do to protect your patients.

Many patient record mistakes happen during the indexing process in three ways:

  1. A backlog of un-filed documents
  2. Countless hours of manual data entry
  3. Relying too heavily on software.

Issue #1: The Filing Backlog

New documents flood into your clinics all the time. No matter how fast your team works, there’s no way to keep up. They are constantly battling a long line of documents to file, and the backlog places them under tremendous stress.

That kind of working environment is practically begging for mistakes to happen. Your team needs to feel relaxed in their duties, like they’re working a system rather than the system working them. 

When they feel less stressed, they’re less likely to make mistakes. You’ll then see an increase in the accuracy of your patient information.

Instead of scrambling to locate a file at the last minute, they can quickly retrieve the needed document with just a few clicks. It really can be that simple.

That’s easier said than done, of course. Faster filing can often feel like a pipe dream. But it is possible. To achieve it, you first need to understand how the backlog got created in the first place.

Issue #2: Manual Data Entry

Most indexing processes rely heavily on manual data entry, usually accounting for roughly 80% of the workflow time. It’s slow, inefficient and probably the biggest contributing factor to your backlog. It also leaves your process vulnerable to human error.

Beyond the typical misspellings and typos that can happen under the best circumstances, more significant mistakes with potentially harmful consequences can occur when your staff’s other responsibilities distract them from the precise attention to detail that’s required.

They’re simply too busy rushing to get everything indexed quickly while juggling other tasks and helping patients. Inaccuracy is inevitable.

In fact, hand-keying is typically less than 99% accurate, leading to problems with at least 1% or more of your medical records. That may not sound like much, but when you think of how many thousands of documents come in all the time, even 1% can cause major disruptions in care. Patient risk escalates with every mistake.

To reduce the number of errors, you must eliminate the need for manual data entry. The only reliable fix for this issue is a technology-enabled service that can automatically index your documents with little to no help from your staff. 

Issue #3: Relying on Software, Not Service

Automated indexing software can quickly index your patient records without your team having to lift a finger. But as great as technology is, it’s not perfect. Mistakes can (and do) still happen.

That’s why it’s important not to feel overconfident and rely too heavily on software alone. It’s crucial to have expert humans behind the scenes to ensure your accuracy rate stays as close to perfect as possible.

But wait. Didn’t we just talk about how humans make mistakes? Yes, stressful and unmanageable working conditions can increase the likelihood of human error. But skilled professionals are an ideal safety net when computers are unsure how to correctly file a document.

That’s the solution offered by SmartFiler. 

Nearly all of your incoming records are automatically filed within 4 to 24 hours. If the software is ever unsure what to do with a document, DISC’s highly-trained experts are standing by to make sure every document goes to the correct place. They step in, read the necessary information, and place it in the appropriate location while the software continues to file other documents.

This additional human level of service ensures an accuracy rate of up to 99.99% and practically eliminates the chance of mistakes. We call this “attended automation,” and it can completely transform your indexing process.

Get help with your patient record filing with SmartFiler's Attended Automation

If you’d like to learn more about how SmartFiler and attended automation can help your medical group, reach out to us. We’d love to discuss how we can help increase your indexing accuracy while decreasing patient risk.