Healthcare can be one of your most lucrative sales for document imaging solutions. Healthcare providers are drowning in paperwork with items such as insurance forms, patient records, Medicare records, prescriptions, etc... They are also highly regulated so tracking and securing medical records is essential. All healthcare providers – doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, dentists, optometrists, etc. – need to turn paper into digital files using document imaging solutions.
The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that more than 31 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent on administration. Furthermore, paper files are frequently mislaid. It is not unusual for patient files to be on a doctor’s desk or even the trunk of his or her car. In fact, 40 percent of the time doctors see their patients and fail to update their medical files or have their medical files in general.
Maintaining paper records also requires additional staff time updating and filing information. The advent of electronic medical records (EMRs) has eliminated most of these inefficiencies, but paper records are still an essential part of healthcare. As one could see, there is a huge demand for document imaging solutions.
There are a number of compelling reasons for healthcare providers to adopt document imaging solutions as part of their operation. Not only to improve efficiency but also for regulatory compliance and, most important of all, to improve patient care. When selling document imaging solutions to healthcare prospects, consider using the following arguments:
Improving Healthcare Management
The business argument for adopting digital imaging solutions is the same as for any operation –converting paper to digital files streamlines operations:
Centralizing records management – By digitizing paper records, all administrative and patient records are stored in a central data repository. As a result, paperwork isn’t lost and can be securely stored and accessed anywhere.
Better bookkeeping – Applying document imaging solutions to centralize paper records, such as medical care instructions and insurance paperwork simplifies billing. Applying electronic processes automates billing and eliminates errors.
Simplifying insurance claims – Paperless processes also simplify medical insurance processing. Claims paperwork can be digitized to streamline access, review, and payments.
Saving staff time and resources – Using document imaging solutions to digitize medical paperwork saves staff time. As much as 30 percent of staff time is spent looking for lost paperwork. Using EMRs also saves doctors and specialists time in finding and accessing medical records.
Administrative analytics – Doctors’ offices and hospitals are also using data for operations assessment, including big data analytics. By centralizing all the operational data in digital form, care professionals and administrators can perform analyses that were never possible before, not only to improve administrative efficiencies but also to provide better patient care.
Supporting Regulatory Compliance
One of the most compelling reasons to digitize medical records is regulatory compliance. It’s essential for EMRs to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations regarding protecting patient privacy while permitting appropriate disclosure of health information for patient care. According to the American Medical Association, failure to comply with HIPAA regulations can result in a $50,000 fine for each incident, or a maximum of $1.5 million per year.
Effective January 1 of 2014, all medical practitioners that accept Medicare and Medicaid payments are required to “have adopted and demonstrated ‘meaningful use’ of electronic medical records (EMR) in order to maintain their existing Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement levels.” The objective of maintaining up-to-date EMRs is to improve patient care, public health, engagement with patients and their families, and maintain patient privacy. To ensure compliance with EMR, regulations require document imaging solutions to integrate paper into EMRs.
Another regulatory benefit of maintaining EMRs is data security. By scanning all paperwork into a central digital repository healthcare providers secure all their digital records.
Then there is the need for an audit trail. To avoid fines that can add up to millions of dollars, healthcare organizations need to prove regulatory compliance. One of the best ways to demonstrate compliance is by maintaining an audit trail of EMRs to demonstrate secure digital file access. If you have paper records as part of the mix, it will be much harder to prove compliance.
Improving Patient Care
Most important of all, using document imaging solutions to scan all files and reports improves patient care.
By providing centralized access to medical files physicians, specialists, nurses, and other caregivers all have access to the same medical records. That means everyone responsible for patient care is using the same data which reduces errors and promotes more consistent healthcare.
In addition to scanning medical paperwork, centralizing EMRs also makes it easier to keep records up to date. Physicians and nurses are using handheld devices such as iPads or customized tablets to access and enter patient data during treatment. That means there is no lag time in updating patient files and medical orders can be documented immediately. It also makes for fewer mistakes in medical care.
The patient benefits as well. Using accurate EMRs promotes more accurate billing, prompt insurance claims, and better customer support.
Creating New VAR Opportunities
Now consider the sales opportunities that document imaging solutions open up for system integrators and VARs even beyond the sale of scanning equipment.
Additional hardware and software is needed to manage EMR storage. Maintaining EMRs requires more enterprise hardware, data storage, management software, and hardware to access the data.
Cloud resources are becoming more important to healthcare professionals, not only for secure data storage but for ready access to patient records. Document imaging isn’t just about storage; it’s about access, not only to data to improve patient care but for operational analytics.
Then there’s wireless support. To access EMRs physicians will need secure wireless access to medical records on handheld devices, both on-site and at remote locations.
Sale of document imaging solutions can pave the way to a much more lucrative engagement with healthcare providers. Digitizing paperwork requires an entire infrastructure for data entry, storage, and access, and it all starts by selling the immediate benefits from adopting document imaging solutions.