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Electronic health records

New service seeks to smooth transition to EHR

BOSTON – Iron Mountain Inc., a leader in information protection and storage services, announced it will begin offering a diagnostic assessment that shows large North American hospitals how to process patient records more efficiently.

The diagnostic service  is part of Iron Mountain’s shift toward a more consultative approach in the healthcare space and is the latest in a string of recent moves by the company to help healthcare providers lower their costs while improving patient care.

Generally taking 3-4 weeks to complete, the assessment helps healthcare organizations to automate workflows and fund the transition to electronic health records by identifying inefficiencies in their current records management practices.

The assessment is designed for large teaching hospitals and multi-hospital healthcare networks, where numerous file rooms and storage vendors create the need for greater efficiency.

“Most hospitals are struggling to transition from paper records to more efficient electronic health records,” said Ed Santangelo, Iron Mountain’s senior vice president of healthcare. “While many see the value in moving to the electronic version, they’re just not sure how to make the switch with existing resources and without disrupting care.

“Our assessment lets hospitals take an evolutionary approach to enact what potentially can be self-funding changes without affecting their daily mission to provide quality patient care. They can save money on records storage, ease into an EHR and re-engineer existing processes.”

Long heralded as a way for healthcare providers to improve patient care and efficiency, electronic health records have proven too costly and complex for most hospitals to adopt entirely.

According to a survey conducted by the American Hospital Association in 2006, only 11 percent of the nation’s hospitals had fully implemented electronic health records. Another 57 percent of America’s hospitals reported having a partially implemented EHR.

Canadian hospitals and healthcare facilities are also seeking to implement electronic solutions. For example, the ultimate goal of the Ontario e-health strategy is to create an electronic health record for all Ontarians by 2015. Other provinces are deeply immersed in their own e-health programs, as well.

Iron Mountain’s assessment looks at the costs of staff, third-party vendors, storage and even lost revenue from file rooms occupying space that hospitals could use for treating patients.

Additionally, the company reviews the hospital’s methods for processing patient records. In a paper-based hospital, the medical records staff must assemble charts, code them and perform other actions sequentially. Hospitals cannot complete these activities concurrently like they can with electronic medical records. While this process for handling patient records can take up to six months for every discharge, Iron Mountain has been able to cut this time for some customers to just 30 days by helping them store paper records more efficiently and enabling them to digitize patient charts on an as-needed basis.

Adopted from RMS Services, a healthcare records specialist acquired by Iron Mountain, the assessment isn’t the only new addition in the company’s suite of healthcare offerings.

Recognizing that the healthcare market is labouring to transition from paper-based to electronic records, Iron Mountain has made a series of recent investments to better address this need. Earlier this year, Iron Mountain introduced in America two digital archives – one that provides long-term archiving and off-site disaster recovery for digital medical images and another that stores and protects electronic copies of medical records and other documents.

And planned for early next year, Iron Mountain will expand its release of information service, having just entered into a software licensing agreement with Cobius Healthcare Solutions, LLC.

About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Inc. helps organizations around the world reduce the costs and risks associated with information protection and storage. The company offers comprehensive records management and data protection solutions, along with the expertise and experience to address complex information challenges such as rising storage costs, litigation, regulatory compliance and disaster recovery. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain is a trusted partner to more than 120,000 corporate clients throughout North America, Europe, Latin American and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.ironmountain.com.

 

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