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Is Paper or Digital Better for Documenting Long-term Support?

Documenting Long-term Support – Is Paper or Digital Better?

Human services agencies often help Medicaid members or others with documenting long-term support services (LTSS). As baby boomers continue to age and people continue to live longer and longer, LTSS will become more and more important, and will have to be capable of handling more and more individuals receiving services over the years. For any provider agency, the main concern is the people being helped, but for the regulating bodies such as federal and state governments, the AHRQ, and the CDC following the rules and the laws are equally as important. Documentation is critical, and many agencies are still using paper in some form to do this. The question is, which is better? Paper documentation or digital documentation? Direct Care Innovations (DCI) believes that digital is better, and here are three reasons why.  


That’s right — it’s the law. As part of HIPAA, all individual records must be confidential, only released on a need-to-know basis, and stored digitally as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to the act, “meaningful use” of electronic (read: digital) health records (EHR) is to:
  • Improve quality, safety, and efficiency
  • Reduce health disparities
  • Engage individuals and their families
  • Improve care coordination
  • Improve public health
  • Keep information confidential and secure
Health informatics is a direct result of this law, and all provider agencies were required to demonstrate compliance with digital recordkeeping by 2015 to keep their full Medicare reimbursements. DCI can help provider organizations create the ideal business management platform including every key area they require for reporting and recordkeeping, building in small changes or needs for a particular agency.  

Immediate Access

Immediate access to digital records is an excellent reason to go digital. Once upon a time, caregivers had to search through library-style bookshelves full of folders for one set of health records. With digital business management platforms, those days are gone. The information is stored securely and available at a keystroke for any agency who has made the full conversion. If an agency isn’t quite there yet, DCI understands — but we can make the transition quicker, less painful, and adapted perfectly to each individual agency. Now that’s great access!  

Working from the Same Story

As anyone who has worked with version control or updating any type of document in a networked system knows, hours and days can be lost to working on the incorrect version of a document. All members of the team need to have access to automatically-updating documents, forms, and databases. In other words, they all need to be working from the same story. DCI is committed to making that happen and will work with an agency to specify and incorporate specific documentation needs into the business management platform. With DCI, there’s no reason to play catch-up, because everyone will be looking at the same information.   DCI understands the enormity of switching an entire company’s records from paper to digital, and we want to make it easier for every agency that provides human services to individuals. They are our relatives, parents, and friends, and we want them to have the best care possible. That means digital documentation and moving into the future. We can help with this or any other business management goals a provider agency or other lines of service might have, tailoring the results and the outcomes to success and unparalleled individual care.

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