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The centralized faxing/scanning conundrum

The centralized faxing/scanning conundrum

The centralized vs. de-centralized faxing conundrum seems to be a topic with every healthcare organization we encounter.

In theory, centralizing your incoming documents seems like a grand idea. You have a core group of people who do things consistently, know the documents and are managed by a single department.

Is Your Doctor Too Busy For You?

Is Your Doctor Too Busy For You?

Are your doctor visits too short?

Do you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office forever for your appointment?

I have enough time to catch up on my emails and page through several magazines before the nurse comes to get me.

Extract and the Chinese Parable

Extract and the Chinese Parable

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.

Top 5 Telemedicine Solutions Bringing Patients and Doctors Closer to Each Other.

Top 5 Telemedicine Solutions Bringing Patients and Doctors Closer to Each Other.

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.

Extract is on your critical path toward HIMSS Stage 7

Extract is on your critical path toward HIMSS Stage 7

Recent conversations with HIM folks have lead me to take a closer look at the requirements for Stage 7.  We want to be on the critical path helping to achieve the highest healthcare standards and as it turns out, we are on that path.

The Benefits of an Enterprise-wide Fax/Scan Handling Solution in Healthcare - Part Three

The Benefits of an Enterprise-wide Fax/Scan Handling Solution in Healthcare - Part Three

The benefits of an Enterprise-wide fax/scan handling solution in healthcare is part three of a series. If you haven't read Part One and Part Two, read them now! While the benefits listed in our previous posts of this series can increase efficiency, a truly good enterprise fax and scanned document handling solution is one that can automate as much of the process as possible. 

The Benefits of an Enterprise-wide Fax/Scan Handling Solution in Healthcare - Part Two

The Benefits of an Enterprise-wide Fax/Scan Handling Solution in Healthcare - Part Two

Leveraging Existing Investments

Your organization has likely invested in an EMR (electronic medical record), possibly a document management system (DMS) and likely in a security infrastructure that defines who has access to which areas of your network

Saving Time, Money and Reducing Errors with Automated Document Classification

Saving Time, Money and Reducing Errors with Automated Document Classification

I keep wondering why healthcare organizations wouldn’t want to streamline this repetitive, manual process and transform these documents into retrievable business-ready data. Think of all of the time, resources, money, and reduction in errors that could be improved upon if their workflow became automated via an advanced OCR solution and Machine Learning.

For example; a typical hospital has...

Staying "Classy" with Automated Document Handling

Staying "Classy" with Automated Document Handling

If you've read prior HealthyData blogs such as this one, then you know that we're doing some pretty "classy" things when it comes to handling your incoming documents. This includes putting those documents into the correct section of the EMR chart with nothing more than a quick once-over. This is something we're very excited about and are quite confident that it will change the way document handling is viewed by your organization.

24th Annual UNOS Transplant Management Forum: One More for the Books

24th Annual UNOS Transplant Management Forum: One More for the Books

Once again I had the pleasure of attending the 24th Annual UNOS Transplant Management Forum for my 4th time earlier this year.  As always, it was a flurry of learning, knowledge-sharing, networking, and well-deserved awards for leaders in the industry.

It was as apparent this time as it was every time before, that the transplant community is a close-knit group who all struggle with similar things regardless of their geographical location. These struggles span across many areas, including financial, staffing, regulatory requirements, lack of organs, information technology, reporting, managing the constant deluge of paper, and many more.  While I can't claim that Extract can help with all of these, there are two specific struggles that we excel at fixing: extracting discrete results from faxed external lab results and intelligently splitting, classifying, and filing large documents (such as referral packets) into patients' charts.

How to redact PDF documents the truly proper way

How to redact PDF documents the truly proper way

I chose the title for this blog a bit tongue in cheek.  You see, there are numerous blog posts about how to “properly” redact PDF files.  While all of those other blog posts correctly explain the challenges that makes redacting PDF files difficult and outline all of the steps that one must take to ensure private information is completely and irreversibly redacted, all of those blog posts fail to mention one critical idea that anyone tasked with the important job of redacting electronic documents should be aware of -- automation. 

Three Things to Do Right Now to Tame Your Lab Results Data Entry Backlog

Three Things to Do Right Now to Tame Your Lab Results Data Entry Backlog

When you get to the office in the morning, is there a backlog of lab results waiting to be entered in patients’ electronic medical records for you and your team?  If so, then read on…

Were you thinking of the word dread?  Or how about, “I hate it when…

What do a road trip and health information have in common?

What do a road trip and health information have in common?

I recently spent three days driving across the northern Midwestern States and through a good part of Canada with a longtime friend as we headed to a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness adventure.  As you might imagine our conversations spanning those 72 hours took as many twists and turns as did the roads we traveled.   However, one saying my friend repeated several times stood out among many insightful remarks he’d made, “Your judgement is only as good as your information.“

Is quality reporting in the EMR age not what you thought it would be?

Is quality reporting in the EMR age not what you thought it would be?

Despite massive adoption of electronic medical records over the past several years, the promise of easy and nearly effortless chart abstraction from electronic medical records enabled by an interconnected web of interoperable EMRs sharing standardized data has yet to be fully realized.  You need to look no further than the media tab to see the evidence that we have yet to arrive at this Utopian future.

Intelligent clinical document classification reclaims critical time lost each day to handling "loose" medical records

Intelligent clinical document classification reclaims critical time lost each day to handling "loose" medical records

Do you frequently find yourself searching for and routing documents, whether paper or electronic, to colleagues, care team members or departments that need them?  Or, worse do you find yourself waiting for documents to be routed to you?  In our work, helping hospitals to automate clinical data abstraction, we're struck by the hours of time lost each day to inefficient workflows involving "loose" records that we often find ourselves helping our customers extract data from.

How to automate critical results reporting for priority patients

How to automate critical results reporting for priority patients

Critical results reporting or reporting lab results for priority patients from non-interfaced sources is no easy task. A delay in reporting can yield an unfortunate outcome for a patient whose condition is deteriorating. This is especially true for specialty departments that provide continued care for patients from far-flung locales, such as the transplant program. One transplant department receives thousands of these reports over a single patient's lifetime, and often hundreds of these documents for its patient population each day by fax.

Specialty clinics still using paper? Get that data into your EMR!

What I know for Sure:

Discrete, trending data is the bread and butter of a specialty clinic.

Hunting and pecking through the media tab to track down information on a patient is infuriating! And not only for the doctors. For nurses. For abstractors. For the patient! Trending a post-transplant patient's drug levels alongside their medication doses, rejections, infections, transplant history, UNOS data, procedures, and relevant transplant-related scores is of paramount importance to a clinician and is very time sensitive. Getting all patient data into the EMR is the holy grail when it comes to specialty medicine.

Specialty clinics, especially transplant clinics, are mini-ACOs. 

When you are treating an acute, chronic disease it is critical that everything about the patient is known regardless of where they are being treated on a daily basis. Luckily, we now live in a world of Care Everywhere, CCD documents, and reference labs…BUT, despite what everyone wants to believe, these things are not a panacea.

Paper is very much alive and well in the healthcare world. 

Sometimes clinicians are "closet paper users," other times they just lay it out there. But don't make any mistake about it…they are using. In the transplant world, you may be familiar with the "wall chart." Also known as "the flowsheet" or "the flowchart." You know the one. The monstrous grid that is the holy grail for the transplant clinic, but is the disdain of the HIM team and the project team trying to migrate clinicians to the EMR. But there are good reasons for this chart and the other paper being used. Many hospitals have not implemented effective document management strategies that classify documents in useful ways. And many hospitals don't have the resources to support entering (and QAing) important data discretely as it comes in from external sources (or even internal sources such as the pathology lab).
 

Specialty clinics are crazy busy. 

There were times during my tenure at Epic that I felt stressed. That I felt my days were busy. That I felt it was hard to create work/life balance. And then I'd go onsite and spend a week in a transplant department. Wow. My workday was like a walk in the park! The chaos that is the life of a person in a specialty clinic is very hard to explain or quantify. It seems there is not a moment to breathe. And this isn't just for the doctors and nurses. Even the folks doing data entry are getting calls, being pulled into other things, being tapped on the shoulder constantly. It is nearly impossible to give something 100% of your attention.
 

Extract's products can help. 

I'm a passionate person. I don't back something I don't believe in and I don't work for companies whose product doesn't excite me. When I first encountered the Extract product I was very skeptical. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with clinical data? Fuggettabout it! However, I've been able to peel back the curtain. The magic isn't in the OCR, it's in the rules, logic, and processing that Extract has fine-tuned while working with numerous healthcare organizations. I've seen it in action. I've seen the product improve with features that allow more reliable mapping to patients and existing orders. I've seen it process large documents and auto-classify subsections of that document and route them accordingly (think referral packets, transplant folks!). I've seen it work. I believe in the product and think it can improve data quality, care quality, data entry efficiency, EMR user happiness, and much more.
 

Extract's products aren't restricted to specialty clinics. 

Yes, it is very easy to see the benefit of using the product to discretely enter lab results or split/file referral packets in a specialty clinic. But once you've seen it in action, it's very hard not to let your imagination run wild. Have an HIM department that is backlogged and needs some help classifying and discretely filing data? Have a natural speech recognition engine that needs some intelligent processing and filing after the output is generated? Have Care Everywhere but wish that you could get some more discrete data from it, such as labs? Still have paper DNR, release forms, or patient surveys coming in and want them to be discrete?

Have any other ideas?

We want to hear them! You can email me directly to discuss your ideas further.


About the Author: Rob Fea

He has spent 12 years partnering with IT teams and clinicians at major hospitals and clinics worldwide during his tenure on the technical services team at Epic. For the vast majority of his time at Epic, Rob supported Epic's Phoenix product, playing a major role in project kickoffs, installation, data conversions, ongoing support, and optimization. During his tenure at Epic, he watched the Phoenix customer base expand from 0 to 55 live and installing transplant organizations. It was a terrific experience and he loved every minute of it. It gave him expansive insight into the healthcare world, especially the solid organ transplant industry. Rob has spent countless hours on the floor in transplant departments observing multidisciplinary visits, committee review meetings, data entry, data trending, reporting, medication dosing, and more.

Population Health and "good enough" Data

Population Health and "good enough" Data

A consultant who supports analytics for population health and quality of care recently told me that frequently, they can only access 80% or less of the total data needed for these initiatives.

If that data is truly random and characteristic of the whole body of data, than acquiring 80% of it is pretty good, perhaps even great. But what if that 80% comes largely from one population sub-group. What if it represents patients who are local - city-dwellers who live nearby and come directly to your facility for lab work and other tests - while the missing 20% is a completely different population. Perhaps this 20% is defined differently by lifestyle, geography or other variables because that population cannot easily come to your facility?