Why Paper Forms Persist in Healthcare Despite Electronic Records

October 31, 2023

Today, technology has transformed almost every aspect of our lives; our way of thinking has been changed completely. That's why it's surprising that our doctors and other healthcare professionals still use paper forms instead of electronic health records and other cutting-edge tech solutions. Even though EHRs can do many amazing things and speed up some of the most hectic and time-consuming tasks for us, paper forms are a big part of healthcare organizations. Some challenges are standing in the way of the success and advancement of healthcare. If we compare Electronic health records with paper forms, EHR can do many things efficiently, saving a lot of time for healthcare professionals. In this blog, we will shed light on the reasons behind the continuous use of paper forms in healthcare organizations despite having electronic health records.  

Key Reasons Behind the Persistence of Paper Forms in Healthcare  

Here are the top reasons behind the persistence of paper forms in healthcare, despite the amazing abilities of electronic health records. Let's dive in.  

Legacy Systems and Infrastructure  

One of the primary reasons behind the continuous use of paper forms in healthcare is the existence of legacy systems and infrastructure. Many healthcare organizations have been using paper-based workflows for decades. A complete transition into electronic health records requires significant time and resources. It involves purchasing and implementing new technology, training the staff, and ensuring flawless integration with existing systems. This can be challenging for smaller healthcare facilities because they usually only have a few assets and very limited IT resources to efficiently set up the EHR system.  

Privacy and Security Concerns  

Patient privacy and data security are crucial in healthcare. The fear of data breaches and unauthorized access can deter healthcare organizations from fully utilizing healthcare records. Paper forms offer a level of security through physical control. Patients can transfer their documents to the provider's hands without having many doubts. These records can be locked away in filing cabinets and accessed by only authorized personnel. On the other hand, EHRs are designed with strict security measures. However, the perception of increased vulnerability and cyberattacks still needs to be improved by adopting cutting-edge technologies like EHR.  

Interoperability Challenges  

Interoperability is defined as the ability of different systems to exchange and use data. It remains a quite prominent challenge in healthcare. Healthcare interoperability and data interchange will be essential as the world's population ages and individuals live longer. Fewer than half of hospitals include patient data and medical records obtained from other sources in patient records. Therefore, although access to crucial clinical data has increased, more work must be done to establish a cohesive data ecosystem. Paper forms provide a universal format that can easily be shared between different facilities and healthcare providers; therefore, many professionals trust them to be a source of data sharing.  

Resistance to Change  

Resistance to change is a common human trait, and it is especially prevalent in healthcare organizations where the stakes are high and patient safety is the top priority. Healthcare professionals may be accustomed to working with paper forms and be averse to adapting to new technology. They may fear that electronic health records could introduce new errors and challenges in healthcare. Therefore, convincing the staff to use the EHR requires sound management strategies and ongoing support.  

Reliability, Redundancy, and Regulatory Compliance  

Healthcare professionals may doubt that paper forms offer a degree of reliability, redundancy, and compliance that EHR may not. One major reason behind this concept is that they rely on something other than electricity and internet issues. In emergencies, having access to important patient information can be a lifesaver. Also, healthcare organizations may be required to remain compliant with regulations and have physical copies of all documents to demonstrate compliance with HIPAA regulations.  

Why EHRs are Better Than Paper Forms in Healthcare  

Compared to paper files, electronic health records have far better security and efficiency. Paper files are readily recovered or remembered, which might result in major patient issues. If left out in the open, these paper files can be obtained by unauthorized persons. You need to consider security and backup storage while keeping sensitive patient information. You can use an offsite backup to restore private data to your EHR during a natural catastrophe or cybercrime. However, this would not be viable if your company exclusively employs a paper-based system.  Moreover, both patients and providers can access the records with just a few clicks, and treatment can be started as soon as possible. In a nutshell, EHR can be a good replacement for paper forms, and its cost-effectiveness is proven in the healthcare industry.


Now that you know, electronic health records (EHR) are a prominent advancement in the healthcare industry over the past two decades. Most companies—if not all—use electronic health records somehow. A doctor may search for a patient's medical history, previous diagnoses, test results, allergies, and more using an EHR. Patients may communicate with their doctor through a portal by sending messages or making appointments. But compared to paper records, is EHR integration a substantial improvement? Yes, according to the majority of specialists.

If you want to transition from paper work to advanced EHR systems, look no further than talkEHR. With our highly advanced EHR, you can unlock many features and resources that could take your organization to the next level of healthcare success.