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

Part One

Healthcare continues to be overwhelmed with incoming faxes and scanned documents. It burdens administrative staff and clinicians alike.

If these documents are not appropriately classified, routed, labeled and filed efficiently, it leads to wasted minutes and hours spent searching for a missing document or a document that is inappropriately filed.  "If that document contains information that needs to alert a provider or be included in a report, the potential harm of not classifying, labeling, routing, and filing the relevant information is even greater."

While solutions exist to solve this, they are often deployed departmentally at first, where the need is greatest.  Not enterprise-wide.

Considering an enterprise-wide solution can allow you to define and uphold best practices for consistent handling of faxes and scanned documents even if HIM is not the one doing the scanning.  It can also allow you to take advantage of existing investments and have consistent data across the organization for clinical decision making and reporting.  All the while, it can greatly increase the efficiency of classifying and indexing documents with more automation.

Consistency and Best Practices

While many organizations attempt to centralize their scanning in the HIM department, the trend of acquiring local practices and the reality that not all faxes arrive in an HIM department leads to others filing documents into your EMR one way or another. 

Using an enterprise fax and scanned document handling solution, the document type can be automatically identified very consistently by software powered by machine learning. The data that’s collected from that document and workflows required per document type can be pre-defined and carried out consistently with little or no human intervention (except to check that the data was captured correctly by the software.) 

For instance, if you wish for external clinical lab results to be associated with an existing order from a provider, the system can look up open orders for that patient that match orders on the fax. The system is designed to enforce compliance requirements for information gathering from the document, so the correct information is associated with the document for reporting purposes. No matter where a document arrives and who reviews it, this procedure can be enforced by software rules including required fields, only certain type of data per field, pre-defined descriptions or other criteria that your organization can control centrally.

If you liked this article, you may be interested in: Climbing the Paper Mountain

Read Part Two here.

About the Author: Ellen Bzomowski

With 20 years of experience in data capture and voice recognition, Ellen’s experience has focused on achieving higher efficiency and automation in getting data where it will be most useful to an organization. At Extract Systems, she continues to focus on the same ideas and works to get the word out about how Extract Systems’ advanced data capture and redaction solutions make more data valuable and accessible, while securing anything that is private. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University and lives and works in Boston.