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Healthcare print management: EMR and EHR explained

In the world of healthcare record keeping and documentation, electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) are two terms that are often used interchangeably.

They look similar. They sound similar. Heck, there’s only one word they don’t have in common. But that one word is crucial.  

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of the paper charts that doctors use to record patient information, such as medical history, diagnoses, medications, and test results. 

Electronic health records (EHRs) are the longer, historical, more comprehensive records of information from multiple sources. This includes other doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies. 

The key difference between the two is that EHR includes all the health history of a patient. Therefore, EHR sees data sharing and collaboration between different healthcare providers and organizations. Whereas an EMR is more localized to one provider. An EHR is the big, Grey’s Anatomy epic picture.

The benefits and challenges of EMR and EHR

EMR and EHR have many benefits for healthcare professionals and patients alike

  • Improve patient care: provide access to complete and accurate information, enabling better decision-making and coordination of care 
  • Streamline workflows: reduce paperwork, duplication, and errors. Also reduce costs by saving time, space, and resources 
  • Increase accuracy and security: minimize human errors and protecting data from unauthorized access or loss 
  • Comply with healthcare regulations: such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which sets standards for the privacy and security of health information
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However, managing EMR and EHR isn’t without its challenges

  • Interoperability: the ability of different systems and devices to communicate and exchange data with each other. Interoperability is essential for data sharing and collaboration among healthcare providers. It’s often hindered by technical, organizational, or legal barriers. 
  • Data privacy and security: the protection of sensitive health information from unauthorized access or disclosure. Data privacy and security are crucial for maintaining patient trust and complying with regulations in healthcare. It’s often threatened by cyberattacks, human errors, or natural disasters. 
  • System integration: the process of connecting different systems and devices to work together as a whole. System integration is necessary for ensuring compatibility and functionality of EMR and EHR systems. It’s often complicated by legacy systems, or if a healthcare organization’s hardware fleet is locked-in with one manufacturer/vendor. 
  • User adoption: the acceptance and use of EMR and EHR systems by healthcare professionals and patients. User adoption is important for maximizing the benefits of EMR and EHR systems. It’s often limited by resistance to change, lack of training or support, or a poor user experience (UX).

How can healthcare print management help with these challenges?

Healthcare print management is the practice of managing the printing of patient records and other documents in a healthcare setting. This can play a vital role in EMR and EHR management by ensuring secure and efficient printing of patient records when needed, reducing printing costs by eliminating unnecessary or wasteful printing, and complying with HIPAA regulations by safeguarding the privacy and security of printed health information.

Read how PaperCut works in an Epic environment

Read how PaperCut works in a Cerner environment

Healthcare print management provides 5 benefits for EMR and EHR

    • Monitor and track printing activities across different devices, locations, users, or departments
    • Identify printing patterns or trends
    • Optimize printing resources or policies
    • Allocate printing costs or budgets
    • Enforce printing rules or quotas
  1. Secure print release

    • Print patient records or other documents securely by requiring authentication or authorization before releasing them from the printer
    • Prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of printed health information
    • Reduce paper waste or clutter by printing only what is needed
    • Improve convenience or mobility by printing from any device or location
  2. Mobile printing

    • Print patient records or other documents from their mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets
    • Improve productivity or efficiency by printing on the go 
    • Enhance flexibility or accessibility by printing from any network or printer
    • Increase collaboration or communication by printing from cloud-based services or apps
    • Set up rules or policies for their printing activities based on different criteria such as device type, location, user role, or document type
    • Reduce printing costs by limiting color printing, duplex printing, or page size
    • Improve security by restricting confidential
  3. Fax integrations

    • Faxing is a crucial tool for securely transmitting confidential patient data between healthcare providers
    • Print management solutions include scan to fax features that integrate with fax service providers
    • Print management solutions with faxing integrations make the printer/copier/MFD a one-stop shop so that nurses, doctors, orderlies, and staff can securely access and transmit EMR and EHR from a centralized location

Best practices for healthcare print management

Implement a comprehensive print management strategy

Once you have a solution, conduct a printing assessment that examines your organization’s needs, spending, consumption, and physical footprint. Many organizations don’t realize they have printing problems until they look closer at their print environment. Opening the lid on your printing will identify current printing challenges and future opportunities. Then your organization can design a print management strategy that aligns with objectives and budgets that includes a clear vision, goals, metrics, roles, and responsibilities for managing printing activities across the organization.

Train staff on secure printing practices

Print security isn’t at the forefront of our minds when we think of IT security. Education on secure printing basics is one of the first places to start when exploring print management for EMR and EHR. Regular training and education on secure printing practices for healthcare staff help them understand how to protect printed health information from unauthorized access or disclosure, and how to comply with HIPAA regulations and other policies. 

Regularly audit print processes to identify areas for improvement

Auditing print jobs, print processes, print performance, and print behavior is key to understanding the story of your organization’s printing. You can only fine-tune your printing environment by purposefully monitoring and measuring their printing activities, costs, and outcomes.

Baptist Health Care (BHC) in Florida solves secures printing and achieves superior compliance with PaperCut MF

Baptist Health Care (BHC) in Florida is comprised of three hospitals, four medical parks, and 7,000+ print users. They implemented PaperCut MF as their healthcare print management software to secure and streamline their printing of patient records.  

“In the health industry, privacy’s everything, so that was a key factor in selecting a print management system.” - Kenny Stranger, System administrator, Baptist Health Care

By using PaperCut features such as Secure Print Release and Find-me printing BHC improved their security to comply with regulations, provided a simple and convenient workflow, and delivered considerable savings: “There were millions saved,” says Kenny.

“PaperCut’s the superior choice in my opinion. The balance between security and cost-saving is a real benefit.” - Kenny Stranger, System administrator, Baptist Health Care

Read the full customer story.

Enhancing EMR and EHR with print management software 

EMR and EHR are essential tools for modern healthcare practice, and printing is naturally part of that record-keeping equation. Healthcare print management solutions can help healthcare organizations overcome the challenges of EMR and EHR and ensure secure and efficient printing of patient records, reducing printing costs and waste, and complying with security regulations like HIPAA.

Find out more about PaperCut software for healthcare.


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