10 Features to Look for in a Records Management System

by K Logan | Aug 05, 2015

Electronic client file management systems save optometry practices time and money – but only if you find a system with the right features. Some records management systems go as far as turning paper into electronic documents without actually making the process of locating and leveraging these documents simpler.

Electronic Records management

To save the money and gain the productivity perks promised by client records management systems, it’s important to know what features to look for in a document management system.

Here are the Top 10 features your client records management system should have:

1. HIPAA Compliance. Your file management system needs to secure your files and provide controls to help ensure your compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These controls will help keep client files secure and include features that help you monitor access and provide evidence of security measures to protect client information.

2. Controlled Access with Audit Features. Two important HIPAA-compliance related features are the ability to control access to files and audit actions taken with records. This gives administrators the ability to assign permissions to modify, download and access files and a paper trail to verify all actions taken with any patient file.

3. Disaster Recovery and Backup. When disaster strikes, the file system you have will matter greatly. One of the reasons practices we work with want a records management system is to ensure that their irreplaceable client files are protected from any contingency. Power outages, equipment failure or natural events should not prevent you from providing continuous care to your patients.

4. Integration with Core Software: To get the best productivity boost from electronic records, your records software should be deeply integrated with your core practice applications like Eyefinity or other care management platforms. Low cost records management tools tend to offer minimal integration or are proprietary and prevent that integration from being as useful as possible.

5. Integrated Search: Your electronic records system should be integrated to the point that you can search for the information you need from within other software, without needing to navigate between multiple programs. This ability to search should be as functional as possible, giving you maximum access to your data from within those integrated programs.

6. Integrated File Retrieval. The integration should also extend to retrieving your files from within practice software. Using Eyefinity as an example, your records management system should enable you to search and access documents from within Eyefinity, without needing to navigate between different applications or print the document.

7. Storage of Multiple File Types: Client files can include emails, PDFs, videos, photos and files of all different types. Your records management software should accommodate these kinds of files and make them just as easy to capture, index, store and locate as text-based documents.

8. Web Importing: Web importing enables files that come from computer sources, such as email or electronic documents, to be imported into the system. While it seems basic and intuitive on its surface, many document systems do not make this possible. Instead, users have to print electronic documents and then scan them in to the records system. This is counter-intuitive and unproductive.

9. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Technology: This advanced technology picks up text off of documents as it is scanned in and uses that information in sorting, organizing, and storing the file for easy retrieval later. OCR makes most data entry unnecessary when scanning files, while improving the search functionality of the software. This makes it worth its weight in gold.

10. Powerful Search Capabilities:  Searching across databases with a single, “Google-like” functionality makes a records management system work for you. Searching for files should not be a headache once you implement file management software; it should be simple on the front end and thorough on the back end, creating a powerful search function that will reliably provide you quick and accurate results.

Low cost and free records management options might seem too good to be true – and they very well could be. Records management software should work with your practice’s core applications while providing robust and powerful indexing and retrieval features in a secure and complaint repository. By using this list, your optometry practice will be able to maximize the return on investment through improved productivity, better quality of care and the flexibility to manage even more patients.

ECRVault is the leading provider of patient records management solutions in the eyecare industry. Learn more about our software