Extract and the Chinese Parable

Chinese Farmer

Extract Systems meets the Parable of the Chinese Farmer


There is a Chinese parable about the farmer who had a horse. One day, the horse ran off. That was bad. A couple days later, the horse came back and brought with it three wild horses. That was good.



A while past, the farmer’s son was training one of the horses and broke his leg. That was bad. After that, the military came through the village conscripting young men. Because of his broken leg, they left the son behind. That was very, very good.


The Evolution of Documents and Data Handling Processes

The evolution of document and data handling in healthcare is similar. Every challenge has created the need for a new solution. The result of the new solution is the need for another technological improvement.

Before, physicians used a paper record. For various reasons, like the exponential growth of data, electronic medical records were born. This proved to be a big step, but only the first step, in the right direction. There were severe limitations of a paper system turned into a scanned image filing system. Images proved to be as difficult to locate critical information as paper documents. That makes diagnosing and treating patients difficult.

  Development of the EMR 


The EMR took another step forward and evolved into a repository of discrete patient information. Data is now easy to find and easy to trend. It's generated electronically within the healthcare organization. This is very good.

Yet, the process of incoming outside documents is still complex. They are still scanned and saved to the patient record. This makes physicians inefficient, wastes their time and money, and also detracts from their ability to see more patients.

The need for new technology is real. That technology is already available. And, it is working to augment the EMR in a growing number of organizations across the US.

The Technology is Right at your fingertips

Here’s how it works. All hospitals and clinics struggle with incoming fax documents. In most cases, the fax is manually handled either in paper or image format. Before anything happens to the document, someone has to figure out what the document is. Most organizations have more than 100 approved document types. The typical person making this decision is trained, but ill-prepared to make determinations with accuracy. Once a document type is chosen, the document is routed to its destination. If it's assigned the wrong document type, the critical data on that document will be delayed or even lost.

Extract Systems uses the latest Machine Learning and AI capabilities to automate document classification. If the software determines there is high confidence, the document is not touched by a human. If there is any doubt, a verified looks at the document in a modern user interface designed to speed up exception handling.

Downstream, other capabilities like automated indexing or data extraction is applied to documents. Extract customers automate the abstraction of more than six million outside laboratory test results every year. One customer reduced their document turnaround time from 5-10 days to less than 24 hours. For priority patients, the turnaround time is less than 60 minutes. In addition, they reduced the number of staff processing test results from 13 to 6.

Extract has created many features that make document and data handling so much easier. Staff can now simply type in the patient’s name and a selection of documents for that patient is provided. Error rates in manual processes are almost never calculated.

Extract’s technology provides analytical tools to help manage every aspect of the workflow, including error rates and productivity per verifier. The management of manual document and data workflows has never been as efficient as it can be with Extract.

To learn more about Extract Systems software and how it can benefit you, schedule a demo now.

About the Author: David Rasmussen

David Rasmussen is the President of Extract. With 30 years’ experience leading software companies, David is driven by the challenge to consistently find groundbreaking ways to solve customer problems. David finds it rewarding to hit the customer’s target and create a great team, build a solid infrastructure, and emerge with a strong value proposition.