In this era of the digital age, the process of document scanning and digitization remains in focus. Scanning hard-copy records is a crucial step in making a digitized document base. The initiative of digitization of documents results in success and reputation for any organization. Scanning documents and storing them in a digital system can reduce development time, increase communication and collaboration within the team, increase accessibility, free up office space, increas quality, and streamline production processes.Business organizations primarily focus on the top benefit of digitization, which is cost savings. Yes, saving money is more important for business entities, while saving lives is the biggest benefit for healthcare providers.
As we move into the digital way of functioning, many healthcare industries see themselves operating in a paperless environment. Many healthcare facilities have started the approach of digitizing medical records. These organizations scan their paper-based medical documents and records and enter health care details into the electronic medical record system.
Before considering the benefits of digitization, let’s see what medical records are and how managing their digitization is crucial in the digitization process.
Maintaining Electronic Medical Records
Although Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) are used interchangeably, there is a fundamental difference between the two. An EMR is a specific recording of a clinical episode or medical encounter that is case or purpose specific, while an EHR is an integration of an EMR and lasts a lifetime. EMR (Electronic Medical Record) is a digital version of a chart containing patient information stored in a computer and an Electronic Health Record is a digital record of health information. In other words, an EMR is a digital version of a chart containing patient information stored in a computer, and an EHR is a digital record of health information.
Digital medical records cater to electronic health records (EHR) or electronic medical records (EMR). As per ISO/DTR 20514, an EMR is defined as a computer-processed form containing a repository of health data. EMRs hold information about the subject of health care. It is capable of being securely stored, maintained, transmitted, and made accessible to multiple authorized stakeholders.
The Need for Document Digitizing
Accurate and reliable documentation is critical to protecting patients. Having accurate medical recordkeeping can help ensure that patients receive timely care. Good documentation increases patient safety and the quality of care. Paper-based, scattered documentation lacks credibility and leads to delayed or inconsistent treatment. Hence digital format of health documents and medical records is preferred over paper-based records for their availability and reliability.
The primary goal of maintaining an EMR/EHR is to:
● support the consistency,
● efficiency, and
● quality of integrated healthcare.
Most hospitals, clinics, and top healthcare facilities prefer to rely on document digitizing services provided by professional document scanning companies. Outsourced service providers have expert staff with specialized knowledge in clinical records to help make digital transformation easier and more reliable.
Document Digitization and OCR
Document digitization helps hospitals and healthcare companies add paper-based patient charts to EMRs. These digital records are integrated with various EHR or HIM systems. This process satisfies one of the requirements for HIPAA compliance.
Document digitization is often seen as scanning paper into an electronic file. Document scanning indeed uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology. This method allows converting scanned documents and images into a single layer of text while retaining the original image.
OCR software used in the document scanning process converts the paper version to digital by converting the text into an editable format. This means we can edit that information in the converted document. A scanner device and scanning software are used to capture and generate documents.
Document imaging, on the other hand, converts paper into an image file. This is a digital image of a raster on scanned paper. We can view, share, and save the digital copy, but cannot edit it. That means, by applying OCR, printed documents can be made digital and stored as searchable PDF files. Data capture through OCR is faster, more accurate, and more efficient than keystroke data entry. Healthcare providers can hire OCR Services to keep documents 100% text-searchable in their systems.
Advantages Of Digitization of Medical Records
Converting medical records into digital documents saves time and space and helps streamline patient processes and the quality of care.
The following are some generic benefits of digitizing:
● Paperless form medical history is made available and accessible anytime, from anywhere.
● Cost-optimized services, as it eliminates repeated screening and tests (if required for a specific period).
● Enable stakeholders to provide timely treatment and health care.
● Help publicize the practice of evidence-based medicine.
● Enhances research and creates effective medical practice.
● Secured preservation through backup policies extends the life of an individual’s health records.
● Provides quick evidence of records whenever the audit requirements arise.
● Provide secure access and authorization control mechanisms.
● Able to search and update faster.
● Ease of maintaining patient health information.
With digital documents indexed, organized and accessible, managing digital records in the healthcare organization becomes convenient. Electronic health records (EHRs) then be linked through medical reports, laboratory test results, and other relevant documents. The storage and retrieval mechanism with hosted software helps to access required records anytime through search keywords.
After digitizing the practice, one can securely share electronic information with patients and other doctors in the network.
With all these benefits coming together, digitizing medical records should be a priority move. Document digitization for healthcare providers determines HIPAA compliance best practices. It reduces costs, increases security, improves accuracy; and most importantly, makes life easier for healthcare agencies and their patients.