A Comprehensive Guide to Initiating Patient Records for Small Clinics

woman in training shoes making a knot

As a freelance practitioner or small clinic owner, you certainly don’t have much time to spare on admin tasks. Securing your patients data in an adapted patient record is essential though, and will save you a lot of trouble. Once you’ve selected a patient record system that suits your clinic’s needs, the next steps involve setting up the system, adding existing clients, creating your templates, uploading consent forms and more. In this article, we will provide a detailed guide on how to get started with patient records for a small clinic.

1. Choose the Right Patient Record System

The first step is obviously to research and choose a patient record system that aligns with the size and requirements of your clinic. Here are a few pointers, but you also can check our complete article on how to choose a Patient Record System.

  • Ensure the system complies with relevant healthcare regulations to safeguard patient information.
  • Select an app matching your business size and needs. Picking large EMR simply because they are popular in the health industry can lead to high acquisition and maintenance costs, complex setup and learning phase, etc.
  • Make sure the app is cloud-based (accessible from any device), easy to setup and easy to use
  • Check if it offers all the essential features you need (easy client registration, record templates, integrated patient consent system, integrated booking system, etc.)

2. User Accounts and access management

Patient record system contain sensitive information and you are responsible for keeping it safe. It is essential to determine who can access and modify it at all times.

  • Set up user accounts for staff members who will have sufficient clearance.
  • Assign appropriate access levels to ensure data security and privacy.

3. Data Migration and new data entry

  • Identify existing patient records and migrate them to the new system. This may involve manual data entry or data transfer from existing databases. Meridiq allows an easy patient data import to save time and get your new patient record system running within minutes.
  • Verify the accuracy of transferred data to prevent errors in patient information.
  • A quick and safe way to gather patient information is to use an app allowing patients to enter their own personal data from any terminal

4. Define Workflow and Protocols

  • Your patients should be allowed to access, update and delete their own data.
  • Establish clear workflows for creating, updating, and accessing patient records. Make sure your process will avoid duplicates for example.
  • Define protocols for handling sensitive information and ensure staff is trained on security measures. That can entail limitation on accessing the database from personal devices, or changing the password on a regular basis.
  • Make sure you have a clear procedure for new staff or team members leaving your company, as this can be a security threat to your patient’s data.

5. Build useful Templates

Time to optimize your workflow and save time with some preparation work. As an aesthetic business or a dentist cabinet for example you can create templates for common procedures that will be easy to add to your patient records and customize.

6. Manage Consent Forms and digital signatures

If – like MERIDIQ app – your Patient Record system manages patient consent, you can setup the consent forms and template letters to use for your different types of procedures, so you manage it digitally in the same place as the patient record for extra safety and time saving.

Your patients should be allowed to access such content forms and contracts at all times, which is also greatly simplified with a unique cloud-based solution.

7. Integrate with Billing System

If applicable, integrate the patient record system with the billing system to streamline the billing process. This will ensure you are always up to date with invoicing and allow you to keep track.

flowchart starting MERIDIQ EHR system

8. Train Staff

Once your process is clear and completely streamlined from Patient acquisition to archiving, you can conduct training sessions for staff on using the patient record system efficiently. This is a very important thing to consider when choosing a solution: the adoption of a new tool always come with important hidden costs and time investment. Meridiq app is designed to require practically no training, you essentially need to make sure your staff follows your patient management process. 

9. Test your process

Conduct thorough testing to identify and resolve any issues before full implementation. You can test different scenarios to ensure your process performs well under various conditions and allows to gather all the information you need from your patients without having to add multiple steps of manual data entry that are source of errors.

Setting up patient records for a small clinic involves careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to data security. Choosing the right system for your clinic or practice can save a huge amount of time and facilitate the adoption of a new management tool, in addition to being safer. By following these steps, clinics can ensure a smooth transition to a new patient record system, providing a foundation for organized and efficient healthcare services. Regular updates and adherence to industry standards will contribute to the ongoing success of the patient record system in enhancing patient care and overall clinic operations.

Read more about patient record keeping