For many years, healthcare organizations all over the country have been transitioning from paper charts to electronic health records. From large hospitals to small clinics, almost everyone has adopted an EHR system to manage the care of their patient population. The shift to an electronic record comes with a number of benefits: increased speed of diagnosis, easier collaboration among care teams, better trending of vitals and test results. One big misconception of this transition is that paper charts and documents are a thing of the past and are no longer a concern.
Patients feel that they aren’t getting quality care from their physicians. They are being incorrectly diagnosed because they simply aren’t getting more than 15-minutes with their physicians. Their questions aren’t being answered, but instead being directed towards nurses. Patients are feeling more and more like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, on a journey to the Emerald City to find the Wizard and ask the for help.
Do you ever find yourself asking "how could we still be processing so much paper and faxes in the year 2017?" Sometimes, it can feel like there are mountains of paper that need to be climbed and processed with no summit in sight. There are EMR's, Care Everywhere, FHIR, HIE's, reference lab interfaces, and hundreds of other ways to exchange information electronically. But here we are…still seeing hundreds or even thousands of actual faxes per day in clinics and HIM departments.
The year is now 2017 and we have been a digital society for quite some time, but if you talk with people in the healthcare industry, you will find that paper is still floating around. In 2016, we worked with two major hospitals and you would be amazed by not only how prevalent paper documents are, but how these paper medical documents get copied and moved to different people through the hospital, this is what we call the “Paper Shuffle”.