The Value of Archiving EMR
Although the law is yet evolving, it appears that the state and federal laws for retaining EMR will likely be the same as for paper charts. But storing paper charts takes up more and more space with the passing of time. You can store EMR virtually forever in the vast chasms of microchips. When you’re dealing with chronic conditions and some other complicated cases, being able to check past charts can be very valuable.
But remember also, if you follow state and local law in disposing of data, then you’re no longer legally liable for something that went wrong but is not documented. But if you are selective in what you delete, that doesn’t look good either. Decisions, decisions.
If you save everything, your database can be huge after a number of years. The larger it is, the longer it takes to back it up. And even a digital database will eventually have size issues. Image files are getting ever larger as they are getting clearer and more detailed.
It’s possible to automatically extract all EMR data previous to a certain date. You can simply delete it or store it somewhere else. If you put it in a data archive, you don’t have to waste time backing it up over and over. You can simply include a link in your EMR software so you can jump to your archive if you have to. Your working data base will remain easy to manage and back up.