Limiting Paper Usage for Sustainability and Interoperability

In healthcare, we need to look ourselves in the mirror to determine the effects we have on the environment. Healthcare is lagging behind compared to other sectors of the economy regarding sustainability, even where recycling is encouraged. Reams of paper are still used to pass data from one department to another for patient records. Image documents are printed, copied, and routed to different departments for patient care and provider review without the thought of the lasting effects on the environment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to look for alternatives for improving the exchange of health information and is encouraging physicians to move away from fax machines while urging healthcare insurance companies to make claims data more readily available. Even with tech giants looking to remove interoperability barriers, healthcare needs to begin taking further steps to produce seamless integration for the exchange of health information.

It goes without saying in the healthcare environment that all systems want to be able offer seamless integration between their systems, making them interoperable. A move away from faxed information and toward interoperability would be a great step forward in the reduction of excessive paper use.

The use of fax, email, and scanned documents presents a pressing issue on how the data within these image documents can be used by physicians and patients alike. Unfortunately, with the data being stored in image documents, it can’t be used for trending or as trackable data. Even if your healthcare institution has a Document Management System (DMS) for document storage for archiving, how useful is the data from these images?

Extract believes that healthcare systems don’t need to spend time and resources moving paper around their organization. We discourage our clients from printing documents, asking them to keep all documents electronic to minimize the impact on the environment. With these documents existing as electronic images, we can offer a viable, interoperable solution for healthcare institutions to automate their workflows around incoming outside documents.

Our HealthyData platform technology reads these incoming documents the same as a human would triage (classify, route, scan, index) and enter the data. Upon data capture verification, the unstructured discrete data is then sent downstream to your Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Laboratory Information System (LIS), or other viable software. To learn more, reach out to us today.

About the Author: Shane Dickson

Shane is the Regional Business Development Manager at Extract with more than 13 years of experience in the healthcare marketplace. His healthcare background includes managed care, regulatory guidelines, quality analytics, and EMR software solutions in a number of modalities. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College while playing DIII collegiate hockey. Shane takes pride in listening to customers workflow issues to provide sound software solutions long-term.