Offices go paperless

by: Crystal Britt  bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Devices like the Blackberry have changed our business and professional lives, and some businesses want to take the tech revolution even further.

Gone are the days of pencils and charts.  Doctor Mark Hahn sits at a computer in the exam room entering his patients information. Doctor Hahn's part of Plaza Primary Care at Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau.
"We decided when we opened the practice we would be electronic," said Pat Francis, office manager. 
Going paperless at the office has been two and a half years in the making.  They have a computer system that manages scheduling, and one for medical records.
"It's their post surgical history, medical history, medications, allergies, anything you can think of in a health history form that could be 2-15 pages long," said Francis. 
"I can pull up old visits, all their old office visits. I can pull up lab results as well as consults by other physicians that get scanned into the chart," said Hahn. 
They say it's more secure, the information is current, legible, and another plus...it's green.
According to a U.S. Government report on the environment, 25 million trees could be saved each year if just 10 percent of businesses cut back on the majority of their paper use.
"Eco-friendly, absolutely," said Francis. And, no more prescription pads.
"The main thing also being there are no lost charts ever in case the computers are down, but we have several back up plans in case that happens," said Dr. Hahn. 
They're not completely paperless, but it's a goal.
"What we've heard is that it's going to be mandatory by Medicare in several years," said Francis. 
So, they're ahead of the curve, hoping this early technology transition pays off.
The office manager at Plaza Primary Care recommends other practices plunge into paperless. She does have this advice: do your homework...saying there are lousy systems out there, so check references.