Increase provider productivity and provide better healthcare outcomes for patients through the digitization of medical records.
The creation of the HITECH Act of 2009 ushered in a new wave of digitalization across the healthcare industry, encouraging providers, hospitals, and insurance agencies to make electronic information more accessible. Previously, only 10% of hospitals implemented electronic health records. Since HITECH, adoption has been swift and prolific — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 90% of office-based physicians are currently using an electronic medical records system.
Through the digitization of medical records, providers can more effectively diagnose patients, more easily refer patients to specialists, and more accurately bill for services. Read on to learn how digitizing medical records works, the benefits for hospitals and practices of any size, and how any organization can more effectively digitize medical records to improve employee workflow and patient satisfaction.
Want to know more about upgrading your products and services? Check out The Executive's Guide to Digitization in Business.
The digitization of medical records is how healthcare facilities, providers, insurance agencies, and clearinghouses can convert patient information into digital files. Medical professionals can handle this conversion process directly by providing electronic intake forms, manually entering information from physical documents into computer database systems, or by digitizing those documents with photo or document scanners.
The digitization process is part of a larger digital transformation trend within the healthcare industry, as patients and providers embrace electronic scheduling and data delivery, telehealth appointments, electronic patient portals, as well as other digital enhancements to giving or receiving care. As healthcare organizations digitize, it’s important to remember that electronic protected health information (e-PHI) must adhere to security and privacy regulations outlined in HIPAA, just like physical PHI.
According to HealthIT.gov, there are several important benefits to the digitization of health records. These include:
- Granting providers instant access to the most up-to-date patient information.
- Secure sharing of health records with patients and other specialists for easy referral.
- Legible and complete documentation to streamline coding and billing, as well as reduce errors in treatment.
- More accurate prescriptions and more convenient refill requests.
- Improved productivity while reducing the costs of processing and storing physical documentation.
- Increased communication and access to health information leading to better health outcomes.
These benefits also inform and aid an overall digitalization strategy, providing a holistic electronic approach to care regardless of the size or scale of the organization.
A medical record digitization strategy requires a combination of physical hardware and procedural changes to provide patients with the best healthcare outcomes.
A network of high-quality digital scanners will form the backbone of any healthcare organization’s digitization initiative, whether the goal is to create a complete digital backup of paper archives or to process new incoming documentation.
A digital scanner with a built-in automatic document feeder (ADF) is essential for processing the daily volume of paperwork hospitals and insurance agencies encounter. Large-business and industrial scanners are purpose-built to handle dozens of scans per minute and can process thousands of pages during a workday without breaking a sweat.
While less critical, flat-bed scanners can aid in processing scans of fragile, bound or awkwardly-shaped documents. Some scanners combine these two functions into a single hardware unit, providing a versatile range of scanning options without taking up additional space.
Additionally, chosen scanners should include helpful software to improve usability and digital sorting of files. Look for software that allows network access to scanned documents, automatic sorting options, and post-processing to enhance image quality.
Did You Know?:The fi-7700 features a 300-page automatic document feeder and can scan up to 100 pages per minute.
Keeping up with the demands of a digital healthcare organization requires an IT department that knows the ins and outs of the network and is available 24/7 to support employees and prevent outages. They will be responsible for maintaining scanner longevity, ensuring they’re connected to the network, as well as running the security framework that prevents scanned documents and other sensitive information from being exposed to unauthorized individuals.
Making a successful digital transition requires buy-in from executives and employees to ensure data is processed securely and disposed of properly. Organizations should institute regular training sessions on scanning best practices and provide reminders on company policy regarding which employees should digitize documents, ensuring respect for patient confidentiality and HIPAA adherence. Making these sessions part of HIPAA compliance training is a great way to give employees the tools they need to treat digital scans with the care they deserve.
Those in the market for a high-speed document scanner to aid in the digitization of medical records have no shortage of options. We take great pride in having spent the last 50+ years researching, designing and developing some of the most advanced and powerful electronics in the world, including our professional grade fi and SP Series scanners.
Built to purpose for the most demanding document handling jobs, the fi and SP Series scanners are capable of processing tens-of-thousands of pages per day at the highest levels of accuracy. Their intuitive integration capabilities with all existing work suites minimize time-to-value for businesses looking to invest in tools that will pay dividends for years to come.
The fi-7700 is a durable mid-office scanner capable of processing up to 100 double-sided scans per minute. Its large, 300-page automatic document feeder tray allows the fi-7700 to scan large volumes of administrative paperwork. At the same time, its double-letter size flatbed ensures fragile documents, and long or awkwardly-shaped papers don’t fall through the cracks. It’s a valuable addition to any healthcare administration digitization effort. Click here to learn more or shop the rest of our production scanner line.