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Did you miss part two of our series on transitioning from paper to electronic medical records? Read part two and then check out the next tip to help make your clinics switch as smooth as possible.

Tip #3: Decide What to Do with Paper Files

Now that you’ve gone digital, what do you do with the old paper charts? And what do you include in your new EMR? Urgent cares by nature do not have consistent repeat visits like primary care providers do. Therefore, patient demographics and records fall out of date quickly and are less relevant for episodic care. DocuTAP recommends not entering old patient info if you have less than 60% repeat visits.

However, your urgent care should scan in relevant files for reference—and have them easily accessible within a digital folder. Generally the last two years of charts should be kept on hand. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HIPPA law requires archives of medical records for patients for a minimum of six years from the anniversary date of the last treatment. 2 You’ll be required to keep workers’ compensation records for even longer.

Record archives may be kept onsite or offsite; carefully consider which files you’ll want your staff to have quicker access to. Put a plan in place for destroying paper files when appropriate. This should be in a reasonable time frame after records are no longer needed and all vital data has been saved within the EMR. Adhere to state laws for proper record retention formats, and clearly communicate how and when records will be destroyed to your entire staff.

Be sure and read the rest of the tips so you can learn how to switch from paper to electronic medical records. Download our free eBook.

Looking to make the switch from paper to electronic medical records? Take a look at DocuTAP’s cloud-based, tablet-run EMR and revenue cycle management services designed specifically for urgent care clinics.

1. Urgent Care Benchmarking Study (2012). Urgent Care Association of America.

2. MLN Matters. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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