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10 Benefits of Document Imaging in Healthcare

December 04, 2017

So what are the benefits of document imaging for healthcare? Here are just a few:

  1. Centralized record-keeping – By using document imaging to convert paper documents to digital files all the paperwork can be stored in a central, searchable data repository. As a result records are no longer misplaced or lost but are securely stored in one digital archive.

  2. More efficient business management – Applying document imaging as part of EMRs also makes for more efficient billing and record-keeping. Hospitals and medical practices can see exactly what services were performed and what drugs were prescribed, which streamlines claims and billing.

  3. Better information security – Using document imaging to eliminate paperwork means sensitive files and patient records are no longer left in the open. This is not only a good security practice but mandated under HIPAA’s patient safety confidentiality rules.

  4. Mobile access to patient data – A growing trend in hospitals and doctor’s offices is to access digital medical records using handheld devices such tablet computers. Not only does this mean that doctors and nurses no longer have to carry clipboards on their rounds, but it means that all patient data can be accessed from the same central database, and new patient data can be entered using handheld wireless devices. Using document imaging to make sure that patients’ digital records are up to date makes it easier for physicians to immediately access a patient’s medical history, check insurance status, or review other information from their tablet computer. It also means that all medical professionals treating the patient see the same medical records, which reduces the risk of error.

  5. Improved medical collaboration – Storing all patient records in one central location makes collaboration easier. Centralizing EMR storage means that nurses, doctors, specialists, and even the billing department all have access to the same records, which improves patient care.

  6. Reduced paper storage – Even though paper is still part of healthcare, digitizing medical records means that paper files can be securely stored elsewhere since they don’t need to be readily accessible. About 50-70 percent of the average office space is dedicated to paper storage. Digitizing paper frees up an incredible amount of storage space.

  7. Reduces wasted staff time – Consolidating medical paperwork using document imaging not only reduces paper space but simplifies functions such as insurance claims and billing, and it saves staff time.  As much as 30 percent of staff time can be spent searching for misfiled documents or lost paperwork. Implementing paperless processes eliminates the paper chase.

  8. Better customer service – Centralizing storage of EMRs improves customer service. If a patient has to challenge an invoice or access records for insurance claims all the information is security stored in a searchable repository. Centralizing EMRs also make it easier to share patient records with pharmacists, medical professionals, or specialists at the patient’s request.

  9. Disaster recovery – No matter how much you prepare, it’s impossible to be ready for every kind of natural disaster. A fire, flood, or some other act of God might destroy all paper records. Document imaging not only lets you store paper records electronically, it lets your file them securely off site. Many medical offices are opting for secure cloud storage to make sure their files are not only accessible but secure in the event of a disaster.

  10. Cutting down on wasted paper – And, of course, migrating to paperless processes cuts down on wasted paper. A 2010 survey reveals that the average hospital produces about 33.8 pounds of waste per day, per bed! And more than half of the waste produced by the average hospital is paper. Digitizing paper processes eliminates waste paper.

All of these benefits also mean opportunities for resellers. Document imaging requires hardware and software to convert and organize paper documents. It also means sale of more secure storage space, both on servers and in the cloud, more wireless technology, tablet computers and handheld devices, and more. It also can mean ongoing support to help the hospital IT department maintain EHRs to ensure both efficiency and regulatory compliance.

The healthcare market for document imaging is big and getting bigger. Finding the right niche in reducing paper processes for healthcare could provide ongoing business for some time to come.