Paper vs Electronic Records: The Pros and Cons

by | Jun 1, 2018 | Electronic Records

how long to keep records

As organizations move more into the digital age, it is understandable to question record and storage retrieval practices. Most workplaces are moving toward an electronic records process, but many are still holding onto the traditional paper records as well. Examining the pros and cons of paper versus electronic records can help you make a decision as to which method is best for your organization.

Pros and Cons of Taking Your Records Digital

Many people wonder how long to keep records. Even if you choose to go with just a few years, the space required to store paper records is rather expansive. With digital records, you can store a myriad of documents and not even notice they are there. Another pro of using digital storage is that it is far less labor intensive. It will take your staff a fraction of the time to deal with records than it otherwise would, and this can result in substantial savings when it comes to labor expenses.

Even with the noted advantages of going digital, there are some cons to consider as well. There is the risk that the software you use can be become compromised, hacked, or otherwise destroyed in some way. There is also a considerable up-front expense to take into account when first converting to digital storage.

Pros and Cons of Keeping Your Records on Paper

Many people find it easier to locate patient records when they are on paper. They are easier to manipulate and view in many ways. In addition, paper records are always stored on site, and many find that they are easier to protect than digital files. In an age where digital hacking is ever more prevalent, many corporations and their customers appreciate the fact that people from outside the building cannot access paper records.

The above benefits notwithstanding, there are some notable cons of paper records. This includes the fact that the space required to store all of your paper records as you grow can become overwhelming. You might also find that you cannot store all of your records on site. There is also the additional possibility of fire or theft.

As you consider paper versus digital and look into how long to keep records, it’s important to think about your individual needs. If you are a small provider, you might find that a combination of both paper and digital will work for you. Larger providers will likely appreciate the convenience of going digital. Information Requirements Clearinghouse is the go-to provider for records retention management.

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