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of paper documents will remain a necessary function of their daily work.

Dennis Amorosano is senior director, solutions marketing and professional services, Canon U.S.A.

For more on Canon: www.

Healthcare organizations have the opportunity to iden- tify and manage this content and more easily integrate it with their mission-critical workfl ows. When integrating unstructured clinical data into their patients’ EHRs, healthcare IT profession-

als need to consider issues around interoperability, data security and costs.

Integrating paper-based documents into EHR systems

A combination of hardware and software solutions can help integrate unstructured data into EHR systems. Paper- based medical records and reports should be scanned using secure document processes and subsequently integrated into the electronic patient record system.

These conversion activities, whether managed in a central- ized department or distributed throughout a practice, should include a consistent and repeatable document intake and preparation process, OCR scanning, indexing and validation, and integration with the organization’s workfl ow, databases or other systems. By streamlining and automating this labor- intensive process, information that was previously contained on paper, once scanned and indexed, becomes easy to retrieve and a “live” component of electronic health records, improv- ing patient care and, inevitably, decreasing healthcare costs.

Security and HIPAA While increasing effi ciency and productivity is a top pri-

ority, above all, healthcare providers must make absolutely certain they are protecting patient data, as a HIPAA violation or security breach can cause damage to their practices and reputations. When considering information security, both physical and digital access must be carefully evaluated. Who has access to the patient information printed and stored on the devices? Can anyone in the organization walk up and retrieve a document? To address these concerns, many healthcare providers are implementing authentication solutions, such as card-swipe or password authentication capabilities at their devices, prior to employees retrieving printed documents. In addition, hard drive security offerings can erase data residing on a multifunction printer’s (MFP’s) hard drive after each job and when the organization wants to dispose of the device. If the hard drive is not properly erased when the MFP is removed from the healthcare facility, unauthorized or malicious users could potentially access and extract confi dential data. These security tools will help your organization comply with HIPAA regulations and ensure unauthorized users cannot accidentally or purposely walk away with sensitive patient information.

Cost containment Today’s economic pressures and competitive healthcare environment mandate strict cost controls. Not only does unchecked printing and copying decrease the environmental sustainability of your healthcare organization, it also adds heavy hidden expenses. The use of electronic forms will inevitably lessen paper waste and costs, particularly on forms that change frequently. But until that vision becomes reality, technology providers are offering solutions, such as tracking and output-management software that increase the account- ability and awareness of employees and enable companies to monitor and reduce wasteful printing and copying. This allows the healthcare provider’s decision makers and IT staff to track page volumes, set restrictions on usage, send print jobs to cost-effi cient devices and only print documents when the recipient authenticates at the devices, alleviating casual printing. With the rapid advances in healthcare technology, the shift from document management to content management increasingly becomes a necessary reality. Canon and Nuance have partnered together to help providers address these con- cerns along their path to meaningful use to deliver a leading industry solution for incorporating unstructured data into EHRs in a simplifi ed and expedited manner. By implement- ing a disciplined document-conversion and management program, healthcare organizations will turn once-inaccessible unstructured data into more effi cient and effective patient care, while simultaneously enabling them to meet the gov- ernment’s meaningful-use guidelines for incentives tied to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement programs. HMT


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