Paper Charts and Hoarders for the Physician Office

I watched 10 minutes of the reality show Hoarders.  That’s all I could take.  It did remind me of a medical clinic I visited recently that had paper charts stacked almost to the ceiling on every available desk, chair and table.  Other than the charts looking “messy” the office itself seemed clean enough with no infection control issues.

But, if a patient sees the clutter they might not think it is clean.  It’s a matter of perception more than anything else.  My reason for being in that office was to demo the Mckesson Medisoft Clinical EMR.  These systems don’t eliminate paper completely, but the old fashioned paper chart will soon be a thing of the past when the majority of doctors give way to this technology.
In a survey done by OfficeMax in January of 2011, 77% of office workers said unorganized clutter negatively affected productivity.  53% said clutter damaged motivation.  This survey included medical offices as well.
I’m not alone in being annoyed by stacks of old magazines in the waiting room.  Paper signs that have yellowed and tacky looking signage is another bugaboo.  I’ve read a few articles recently about bacteria on magazines in a physician waiting room. There are some simple fixes to these issues that would benefit your staff and patients as well.
If the office is disorganized, an EMR may not solve the problem.  We suggest annual, quarterly and monthly “paper purges” to consolidate, discard and donate items that are not useful.  There will be questions about what papers need to be disposed of securely.  Some can be scanned and stored; others might be kept in storage offsite or shredded.
The primary way to address clutter is not necessarily a weekly cleanup.  Every medical practice should develop its own systems and solutions that address waiting room material, work space personalization, patient charts and out of date equipment.  Once these systems are in place your office will improve its organization of miscellaneous “stuff” that accumulates over time

Certainly having medical records stored digitally is a great help.  Not only will it create more space in the office, but will allow your patients to see a clutter free workspace and modern technology.  Patients like that providers are on the cutting edge of technology and will tell their friends about what a nice experience they had.

Iron Comet Consulting is a certified Platinum Reseller for McKesson and is located in Stockbridge Georgia.  We are a full service medical IT and billing company.
Phone (770) 506-4383

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