With the US government calling for increasing usage of IT in healthcare, storing and exchange of health records in an electronic format is gaining momentum. Implementing appropriate electronic documentation management solutions in the areas of healthcare document management would help various entities in the healthcare domain transform healthcare information management departments.
Most healthcare providers are confronted with the problem of coping with a staggering amount of information needed to inform patient care and facilitate the billing thereof. While scanning the documents provides electronic snapshots of paper documents, modern digital documentation management systems facilitate automatic routing, retrieving, and archiving of scanned documents that can work with medical devices to capture patient data directly.
Maintaining Comprehensive Electronic Health Records (EHRs): Creating a comprehensive Electronic Health Record involves capture of data pertaining to order entry, nursing and physician documentation besides lab, radiology and pathology data. Digital documentation systems not only facilitate scanning of paper documents, but also have workflow capability built into them. This facilitates appropriate routing of documents and meaningful aggregation of information for use by healthcare providers’ staff.
Capital purchasing and approvals: Digital document management ensures intelligent routing of documents while simultaneously enabling digital signatures to record approvals and modifications during the purchase cycle. This helps eliminate a chorus of paperwork while keeping track of the approval process for the purchase.
Tracking and managing version control of documents: Digital document management can help organizations keep track of versions of documents as changes are made to them. For example, organizations
can keep track of changes made to physicians’ notes as they are routed to the transcriptionist from the original taping and back to the physician for review and approval. Such features help eliminate errors associated with incorrect transcriptions while creating EHRs.
Meeting compliance requirements: Federal regulations require that medical facilities comply with strict FIPAA regulations. Digital documentation systems that provide the highest level of security help organizations comply with these regulatory requirements that would otherwise be cumbersome to implement through manual systems.
Documentation retention policy and process: To ensure compliance with the legal requirements pertaining to retention and storage of documents, digital documentation systems provide a reliable mechanism. Through simple configuration of business rules as defined by the organization, the entire storage process is simplified while also ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
Improved productivity and customer service quality: Digital documentation systems can help provide simultaneous access to patient information across the provider enterprise, tracking and accountability to ensure meeting service level standards, improve operational efficiency, reduce costs associated with paper storage and improve customer service quality.
In summary, digital documentation solutions need to be implemented with a clear vision in mind. This would ensure that the benefits of the solution are fully leveraged and thus these solutions are not implemented merely to eliminated storage and retrieval of paper documents. Appropriately configuring the solution features for optimal use of the solution would ensure that all the benefits envisaged with the implementation are fully realized. With secure electronic exchange of patient records being mandated by law, implementation of digital documentation systems would have an increasing uptake.