Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

Hybrid Health Records: Definition, Pros & Cons, and More!

hybrid health records

Healthcare practices are increasingly shifting from paper-based to Electronic Health Records (EHR) to improve patient care and workflow management.

However, they frequently also find the adjustment period challenging.

As such, Hybrid Health Records (HHR), which are a combination of both paper and digital records, are what healthcare practices that aren't ready or willing to fully transition to EHR work with.

If you’re looking to find out more about HHR, you’re at the right place.

Here’s exactly what this article will cover:

  • What Are Hybrid Health Records?
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of Hybrid Health Records
  • Who Are Hybrid Health Records For?
  • How Do Hybrid Health Records Differ From Electronic Health Records?

What are Hybrid Health Records?

Despite the growing use of EHR, paper medical records continue to be an important aspect of modern healthcare practices. As such, HHR is a combination of paper-based and EHR that primarily involves tracking and storing a patient’s health records in several formats and places.

Usually, HHR combines paper, scanned, and computer records. For example, in a hybrid system, a doctor would scan their notes at the end of a consultation and then store them on the system’s drive or software, along with other documents.

In many instances, hybrid solutions offer a way for medical practices to build their own version of electronic medical records by using different content and practice management software, as opposed to buying and implementing one EHR system.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Hybrid Health Records

The New England Journal of Medicine looked at 3,000 doctors and found that only 13% used basic electronic health records and only 4% had a fully-functioning EHR system in place.

This means that a big part of healthcare practitioners today use some form of a hybrid system to treat their patients and manage their practices.

This means that a big part of healthcare practitioners today use some form of a hybrid system to treat their patients and manage their practices.

Given the complexity of EHR implementation, it is important to understand the key advantages and drawbacks of HHR to assess whether they could be beneficial for your practice:

Advantages

  • Cost-efficient: Keeping paper medical records costs far less than implementing a high-end (EHR) system, which requires cloud servers and maintenance costs. This is why a hybrid approach might benefit medical firms that don’t have the budget to fully implement an EHR system.
  • Data backup: Another benefit of employing HHR is that you can have numerous backups in case data is lost. A cloud server could fail and you would still have backups (hard disks, paper records, etc.) that you could use to keep working.
  • Accessibility: Using hybrid records, both practitioners and patients can access paper and electronic records at any time. Some HHR systems, for example, allow patients to organize their files into subfolders for lab results, surgical procedures, and more. In turn, authorized medical employees can easily access it.

Disadvantages

  • Data security issues: The biggest downside of adapting an HHR is that using multiple record-keeping outlets translates into more opportunities for data breaches.
  • Management problem: Keeping records in various formats can lead to a daunting management process. For instance, keeping healthcare documents and patient files in scattered locations can make it easier to lose them. Similarly, it might take more time and effort for doctors to navigate between handwritten notes, paper records, and computer records to put together a patient’s entire medical history - from start to finish - on a single file.
  • Complicated billing: Using a hybrid record-keeping system may result in billing delays or even billing mistakes due to having to gather your data from many different places (for example, you may have a patient’s bills in physical receipts and their contact information online). Although some HHR systems offer billing software that allows you to retrieve billing documents, the system isn’t fully optimized, which means mistakes are more likely to happen.
  • Data misinterpretation: Because a number of hybrid health record systems allow patients unlimited access to their medical data, they may often misread a diagnosis, misinterpret medical advice, or simply input the wrong information into the system.
  • Limited functions: At the moment, hybrid health record solutions lack various functions, including preliminary diagnostics features or advanced diagnostics such as CT scans or stress tests.

It should come as no surprise that HHR has more disadvantages than advantages. In truth, HHR is really beneficial when you’re using it as a stepping stone towards a full EHR implementation.

Who Are Hybrid Health Records For?

As we mentioned above, HHR is better fitted for medical institutions and healthcare practices that have a significant number of paper documents and need a transitional model before fully shifting to EHR.

As such, HHR serves as a smooth transition from paper-based records to a fully digitized system.

Studies have shown that it typically takes up to 8 months for a practice to fully implement an EHR system and that’s excluding the time it takes to plan the entire process.

So, first adopting an HHR system is a great solution for healthcare practices that may have used paper records for a long time and will need adjustment and training to make a smooth transition to EHR.

How Do Hybrid Health Records Differ From Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records provide a host of benefits to medical practices that far outweigh those of hybrid health records.

For starters, EHR can do so much more than storing, organizing, and providing an added layer of security to patient health records. By using an EHR system, health care providers can have a patient’s entire medical history on their screen and those records can be easily transferred to another facility, should a patient want to change practitioners.

At Medesk, information about each patient is stored in an individual electronic medical record. It allows you to view all the services rendered to him during the treatment at the clinic. The attending physician can get acquainted with the patient's medical history, view all the appointments and reports that were written by other doctors, as well as compare the results of current and previous analyses of the patient.

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Here are some of the extra features that make hybrid health records and EHR different:

  • Efficient medication management: Practitioners can use EHR to keep track of patient prescriptions and medication plans in real-time, which can help avoid prescription errors.
  • Streamlined document workflow: You can streamline all document management using an EHR system. You can handle patient intake forms, billing, payroll, and other administrative tasks using some of the best solutions on the market.
  • Enhanced Security: Your documents and patient files are never entirely secure with paper-based or hybrid models. EHR allows you to keep your data private from unauthorized parties and store it online, never risking losing it. Moreover, EHR systems are compliant with data protection laws, which means patients’ personal information is never at risk.
  • Telemedicine: Unlike HHR, EHR software offers telemedicine in healthcare, which, among other things, allows doctors to connect with their patients virtually.

Medesk allows you to conduct telemedicine consultations with patients via videoconference directly on the platform. Transfer any planned appointments online with the click of a button.

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Wondering what else an EHR system can do for your practice? This guide on the main EHR features to look for has the answers.

Want to Start Using EHR for Your Medical Practice? Try Medesk!

If you’re looking for the best EHR solution for your medical practice, look no further - Medesk integrated practice management software is here to help.

Medesk EHR Software enhances your medical process by allowing you to:

  • Access a detailed account of your patients’ medical history via an electronic patient portal.
  • Easily create, store, and organize all of your records in one space.
  • Scan, store, and view patients’ digital documents straight in the electronic patient record.
  • Generate invoices, receipts, and much more with a single click through our easy billing process.

And there's more to the story.

Here are some more benefits of Medesk's practical management software:

  • Patients can easily make appointments online with a customizable online booking tool.
  • 40+ ready-made reporting templates to help you track your clinic's performance, determine the finest services, and more.
  • You can access and administer your practice management software from anywhere in the world using advanced cloud-based technologies.
  • State-of-the-art medical CRM technologies provide your medical marketing team with the competitive edge they deserve, facilitating communication through automated SMS and email communication!

And much more!

Try our free trial today to see how Medesk can become the best EHR solution for your medical practice!

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