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● Tactical Operations

Document management gets personal

Streamline your healthcare workfl ow. By Dennis Amorosano


ow more than ever, healthcare providers must do more with less. Tighter budgets, stringent govern- ment legislation and increased patient demands require medical professionals to fi nd new ways to

be effi cient and cost conscious, without impacting the quality of care. Providers faced with these challenges need to imple- ment strategies to help optimize their day-to-day processes while reducing cost. T e ascent of intuitive document-based technologies can help to alleviate these demands. Deployed correctly, they can not only help satisfy regulatory, operational and the bottom- line mandates, but can also help improve productivity, foster security and increase profi tability. While it may seem simple, investing in basic document and data capture strategies can help transform a medical environ- ment. Many healthcare providers are using these strategies to help turn uncoordinated and redundant processes into streamlined and automated workfl ows. As healthcare providers continue on their journey toward

Meaningful Use in connection with electronic health records (EHRs), here are some strategies for effi cient document and output management to consider.

Implement effi cient hybrid workfl ows T e role of paper in healthcare environments has changed dramatically in a relatively short amount of time. No longer are hard-copy documents required for every engagement. Instead, informa- tion can live in EHRs so data is accessible to healthcare pro- viders with the appropri- ate clearance, when and as needed. As physicians, nurses, pharmacists and oth- er medical provid- ers share protected health information (PHI) through a health information exchange (HIE), the result is higher- quality patient care that often translates into improved di-

12 June 2014

Dennis Amorosano, Vice President, Business Imaging Solutions Group Marketing Division, Canon U.S.A.

agnoses, and can assist in reducing medical errors and patient readmissions. However, paper still has its place in healthcare, and for

good reason. Some registration documents, consent forms and referral forms still require the use of hard copies. Because of this, hybrid work environments are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare setting; this fusion of electronic data with hard-copy documents can help providers create an effi cient workfl ow that is a welcomed evolution of, not a replacement for, current systems and processes. As providers rapidly adopt EHRs, it is important to under- stand that documents need to be scanned and incorporated into patient records via a seamless process. T ese documents can be sent either directly into an EHR or through a docu- ment management system. With EHR integration technology, providers have the ability to quickly scan hard-copy patient records through the use of connectors or transmit metadata directly into EHR systems as a standardized HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) message. Scanning can take place at multiple diff erent touch points throughout the prac- tice as centralized or decentralized scanning processes. For centralized scanning, production scanners are avail- able, enabling the integration of unstructured documents directly into EHR systems. For example, once a clinical note or discharge summary is created, that piece of paper can be transported to the scanning department and added to the electronic record. With centralized scanning, which has a single optimized workfl ow process, records are less likely to get lost in the shuffl e. Health information management (HIM) professionals who work in this centralized department are charged with adhering to internal standards when translating information from paper documents to the appropriate fi elds in the EHR. And since only a few people are responsible for scanning paper documents in a centralized scanning system, healthcare providers can feel more confi dent that they are meeting patient privacy and other Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) standards. It can be diffi cult to know where important information should live in the EHR. T ose working in the centralized record-scanning department may have to spend valuable time tracking down clinicians for clarifi cation if they encounter ambiguous statements in the paper documents. Because of these concerns, information technology professionals often advocate a decentralized scanning approach where clinical staff scans paper documents at or close to the point of care. For


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