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Workfl ow Management

Streamlining healthcare with multifunctional devices and advanced workfl ows

Healthcare providers generally face some of the most complex workfl ow hurdles of any industry.

By Dennis Amorosano, Canon U. S . A . F

rom HR to the ER, much has been said on the topic of workfl ow over the years and undoubtedly, healthcare providers have heard numerous promises from technology providers claiming to help better manage their complex document needs. Faced with myriad new federal regulations, privacy concerns and pressure to reduce administrative costs, today’s healthcare providers are looking for solutions as the industry continues to address this ever-changing landscape.

What is workfl ow? At the risk of oversimplifying, “workfl ow” is a series of tasks or steps designed to complete a function. Workfl ows vary from the simple, made up of one party or device, to the complicated, which can involve multiple steps, personnel and device types.

Healthcare providers generally face some of the most complex workfl ow hurdles of any industry, from government regulations requiring patient health information safeguards to the integration of electronic patient records across multiple departments or facilities and communication with external providers, including pharmacies, insurance companies and more. Managing workfl ows can be an enormously complex endeavor.

From complex to commonplace: Streamlining workfl ows

The good news is that despite this level of complexity, technology exists to signifi cantly simplify these processes. For example, many healthcare providers are utilizing hybrid workfl ows – part paper, part electronic – as they progress through the process of moving to electronic medical records (EMRs). As they look to integrate their paper forms and medical records into content repositories, they are faced with a manual process that can be prone to errors. These workfl ows can be automated and streamlined through one- touch workfl ows accessible directly on the touch screen of

10 August 2011

their multifunction printer (MFP), which is not only easy to use, but allows businesses to gain effi ciencies through increased productivity by reducing the steps it takes to en- ter these records and easily fi nd them once they have been properly indexed.

Streamlining common workfl ows, including patient admis- sion and discharge, distributing lab requests and permissions, printing common forms and sending prescriptions to the right pharmacy – with one touch – can provide healthcare providers and their patients with enormous benefi ts. Employees will spend less time completing administrative paperwork and more time focusing on patient care. Data integrity and se- curity are improved, and the entire organization can become signifi cantly more effi cient.

The truth is that every medical provider will achieve different cost savings, but fl exible MFP technology can maximize savings through the application of analytic tools that help monitor device usage leading to the implementation of customized cost-savings programs.

Security and privacy

While increasing productivity and gaining effi ciencies can add to the bottom line, healthcare providers need to ensure they properly safeguard the sensitive personal information entrusted to them by their patients. With printers, scanners and multifunctional devices ever present, it is imperative to closely examine how these devices are utilized, as the cost of a HIPAA violation or security breach can be damaging to both the reputation and bottom line of your business.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com

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