For any small business that works in the medical arena and deals with patients on a regular basis or runs any kind of company that is very detailed oriented for that matter, having the right record system in place is crucial to providing quality service and avoiding untimely errors.
Not only is having the right records system in place important for your customer's well-being, but it is also a necessity given medical ethics if you're in the medical industry. It is a physician's duty to keep strict confidentiality regarding any medical information revealed by a patient or discovered by a physician tied to the treatment given a patient.
According to the American Medical Association (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, the information given to a doctor over time in a patient-doctor relationship is confidential. By doing this, the patient is more inclined to provide a physician with full disclosure regarding their health concerns and needs.
Access to Patient Information
Even with protections in place, access to restricted patient data has been increasing, as electronic health information systems permit added access and transmission to health information. The goal of doctors and nurses is to take this information and use it to better treat patients, at the same time honoring and respecting patient confidentiality.
The typical rule regarding release of a patient's medical record is that information inside a patient's medical record can be released to third parties only in the event the patient has agreed to such disclosure.
A patient's express authorization is necessary prior to the medical records being released to the following entities: patient's attorney or insurance company; patient's employer, unless a workers' compensation claim is involved; member of the patient's family, except where the family member has been appointed the patient's attorney under a durable power of attorney for health care; government agencies; and other third parties.
Choosing the Right Records System
In the event your office needs to select a records system for medical or other needs, there are some factors to consider, among which are:
- Choose a record keeping system that protects patients/clients personal information;
- Select a record keeping system that will allow you to report any necessary tax information to the IRS;
- Find a record keeping system that will clearly document profits and losses so you're not left with a financial headache when the books need to be compiled.
Among the two most noticeable options available are the manual system and a computer-based record keeping format.
With a manual system, the advantages include a low expense and easy usage. On the down side, you have the obvious, manual entry, along with no convenient automatic check and balance system to catch any discrepancies.
With a computer-based system, the biggest advantage is the speed and precision, while the down side is they tend to be more expensive than a manual setup.
Whichever records keeping system your small business selects, remember to properly safeguard your customer's information and review the system from time to time to catch any issues. By properly recording your customer's information, you can expect to keep them around longer.
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