The Hidden Costs of Paper Charts: Why a Medical Practice Needs to Invest in a Proper EHR
post by Samantha Strazanac, TriMed Technologies - June 15, 2022


As a medical professional, you know that keeping accurate patient records is essential for providing quality care. In the past, paper charts were the primary way of tracking patient information, but with the rise of electronic health records (EHRs), that is no longer the case. EHRs offer many benefits over paper charts, including improved accuracy, efficiency, and security. There are hidden costs and other burdens when using paper charts, but why is it so important for medical practices to invest in a proper EHR system?

One of the hidden costs of paper charts is the amount of time it takes to maintain them. Every time a patient is seen, their chart must be pulled and updated with new information. This can be a very time-consuming process, mainly if the practice sees a large number of patients each day. In addition, if a chart is misplaced or lost, it can be challenging (and time-consuming) to track down.

EHRs, on the other hand, are much more efficient. Information is entered into the system once and can be easily accessed by authorized personnel. This means that there is no need to pull paper charts in order to update them and patient information can be quickly retrieved if needed.

Another hidden cost of paper charts is the risk of human error. With so much information to keep track of, it is not surprising that mistakes can be made when updating paper charts. This can lead to severe consequences, such as a patient receiving the wrong medication or treatment. EHRs can help reduce human error risk by providing built-in checks and balances.

The most considerable literal hidden cost of paper charts is not only the expense of paper, ink, and the files themselves, but the need to hire a medical files administrator whose sole role is maintaining all the paper charts and files. That means another salary and employee benefit plan to budget for and another employee for your manager to supervise.

Overall, the hidden costs of paper charts can be significant. Not only are they time-consuming to maintain, but they also carry a risk of human error. EHRs offer a more efficient and accurate way of tracking patient information, which is why medical practices must invest in a proper EHR system.

However, even with the knowledge that your practice needs an EHR, the most common hesitation to transitioning from paper charts to an EHR is the financial investment and the time necessary to onboard and learn the programs associated with your new EHR software suite. This is why selecting an EHR that is not only all-inclusive with no hidden costs but includes the training and onboarding for your entire team is essential.

While paper charts may seem like the cheaper option, in the long run, they can end up costing a medical practice a lot of money. If you have been using paper charts up until now, it may be time to consider making the switch to an EHR software suite like TriMed EHR.