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Benefits of Medical Records Scanning & Outsourced Document Management

Colin Graf | Monday, July 25, 2016

Healthcare Workflow Automation & HIPAA Compliance

Management of paper medical records is a common problem. They take up a lot of space, are time consuming to pull and present numerous HIPAA compliance challenges.

Is there a better way for clinics, physicians groups and hospitals to get their paper records into their electronic health/medical record (EHR/EMR) software that won't break the bank? Yes, there is.

To scan all of your paper charts and other medical records, you have two options:

Option 1: DIY

The first option is to do it yourself. It's tempting to scan them on your copier/MFP or to purchase a inexpensive desktop scanner. The question that you need to ask: who is going to do the scanning, can they be trusted to properly index these files so they can be found later, and can the equipment handle your volume. You will face a complicated decision at this point. Do you hire someone and run with the operation in-house? Or do you outsource it to another country?

Option 2: Outsource

The second option is to have a third party scan your medical records. Since many service bureaus offer this service, how can you effectively compare them? Based on our experience, here are the top five criteria:

  1. Experience: how many medical records have they scanned before and what EHR/EMR systems have they worked with?
  2. Process: how do they describe their process for prepping, scanning and indexing, what is the expected turnaround time and how do they manage making charts available while they're scanning?
  3. Quality Control: how do you know that all of your records were scanned and indexed properly?
  4. Security: How secure is their facility, and are they SOC II Type 2 & HIPAA certified?
  5. Flexibility: can they scan onsite, and can they effectively scan all types of records? (e.g. labs, ECG/EKG strips, fetal monitoring strips, microfilm/microfiche, x-rays, physician notes, etc.)

Ingestion into EHR/EMR Systems

In addition to eliminating the manual labor of pulling charts the day before patients are seen, scanning paper medical records allows this information to be searchable and accessible via your EHR/EMR system like EPIC, Cerner, NextGen, and more – by nurses and doctors alike. In this way, doctors can review patient charts from their home office or from a mobile device.

Because the document management capabilities of EHR/EMR systems fall short of what you need, we can implement document management software like ApplicationXtender (AX) from EMC. We can even integrate AX so that users can search for records from within your EHR/EMR system with embedded AX code that pulls documents from the AX repository and displays them in your EHR/EMR so users don't have to log into two different systems. It's so transparent that your users may not even know AX exists.

Enhanced Patient Care & Increased Revenues

By scanning all of your medical records, you can find more information about each patient faster, which can enhance your quality of care. By eliminating the space where paper charts are stored, you may even have enough space to see more patients. And with a completely digital medical record, some physicians provide their patients with all of their medical documentation on a USB stick for a nominal charge (like $50), which can be a revenue generator.

Whatever your reason for wanting to scan your paper medical records, contact MetaSource today to get started.


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