Hospital Making Steps Toward Paperless Records

File rooms like these used to dominate medical records offices. Your full medical history, kept on paper. Now thousands of these files are condensed onto this.

"We still have a shadow chart just because we still kinda hold on to that, but we're trying to really get away from that and eventually it will be a paperless record," said Dr. Marcia Nelson, UTMB.

Dr. Nelson works at University of Texas Medical Branch in Nacogdoches, a clinic that deals primarily with prenatal and family planning. And this East Texas clinic is on the cutting edge.

"We're already benefiting as far as our patients that come here and do there pre-natal care here, and are delivering at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. We are all on the same page on that patients care and what went on during their pre-natal course," said Dr. Nelson.

Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital is contracted with UTMB. That means when they need to, they can access a patients information over a secure network without having to go through a lot of hassle.

"Everything was in triplicate. The chart here had a copy, a copy went to Galveston, the main medical records down in Galveston, and a copy went to the hospital," said Dr. Nelson.

What was a lot of effort to send stacks of paper hundreds of miles away can now be sent by just a few clicks of the mouse. And as far as security... Everything having to do with medical records is password protected and the password is changed every few days. Comparing that to a paper file that could be stolen if the clinic was ever broken into, it's actually better security. And most can agree that this is truly the future of medical records.