Category Archives: Healthcare

NHS launches price comparison website

The health care industry is an expensive business because paying for disposable items, vaccines and imaging equipment adds up very quickly. As a way to reduce hospital errors and streamline operations, many nations have implemented document management programs to organize patient health information.

In the United Kingdom, specifically, a recent study from the Policy Institute found that the government could be doing more to improve the bottom line by relying less on hard-copy records and moving toward electronic processes.

Around the same time, the National Health Service (NHS) announced that it would be the first government agency to move toward paperless solutions—hoping to be entirely paperless by 2018. Based on information that was released in its study, the NHS decided that it was necessary to attack waste within inventory first.

"The government is putting an extra £12.7 billion, [$20.4 billion] into our NHS but that money needs to be spent much more wisely by local hospitals," U.K. Health Minister Dan Poulter said in the statement. "When our NHS is the single biggest organization in the UK, hospitals must wake up to the potential to make big savings and radically change the way they buy supplies, goods, services and how they manage."

Now, administrative staff members at hospitals and doctor offices across the nation will be able to access a comprehensive, price comparison website that the NHS built. This measure is meant to decrease spending up to 50 percent, Supply Management Magazine explained.

Time and again, office supplies are taking up a larger part of the hospital's order forms, when the priority should be given to medical supplies that are pertinent to patient care.

Though inventory management may not play a large role in how physicians provide patient care, it still takes up a significant portion of many practitioners' budgets. Using business process software can be utilized here to report what medical supplies are needed the most.

United Way chapter donates money to promote paperless initiatives

Medical facilities across the nation have began using more paperless office solutions, but not every practice has the resources to implement these processes. Though federal funding is available for offices that want to work toward digitizing their medical records, the United Way of Central Florida has made it easier for three, non profit health centers.

The grant was given to help increase document sharing between Tri-County Health Services, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Clinic and the Peace River Center, an organization that helps people with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, according to the Ledger.

Many residents in the Hardee and Polk counties are uninsured and cannot afford to receive health care from traditional doctor offices. Non profit organizations like Peace River are only able to continue their services with financial backing.

"Electronic medical records can reduce duplication of services, and help facilities track the consistency of care for their patients," United Way's press released explained.

For many years doctors have relied on filing cabinets and folders to organize patients' medical histories, but this system has been proven to be inefficient, causing severe mistakes for patients who have to go through additional procedures to remedy a doctor's mistake,

Tri-County plans on using its share of the $71,000 gift to install an internet connection, allowing for connectivity with other facilities that already have electronic health records. Peace River plans on using their funding to enhance their electronic document management system by enabling practitioners to input health data wirelessly, use tablets and secure mobile devices.

Study: UK government can save £70 billion with electronic document management

Businesses are constantly trying to find ways to reduce their bottom line, and many have found success doing so through paperless office solutions. Recently, the United States' National Archives and Records Administration issued a directive to all agencies to implement these digital solutions to streamline their operations. In other nations like the United Kingdom, a study from the Policy Exchange echoed a similar point, potentially saving government agencies £70 billion in seven years, which is equal to more than $100 million.

Researchers found that the Crown Prosecution Service prints out about 1 million sheets of paper each day, while passport applications are still processed by hand because they are submitted in paper form. This is the case even though 30 percent of citizens said that doing more tasks on the computer or over the internet could improve their daily work productivity.

"Switching to digital for everything the government does would generate billions of pounds' worth of savings that could be used to cut the deficit or improve public services," Chris Yiu, Policy Exchange researcher, told StoreTec.

The UK government does allow its officials to issue electronic proofs, and it is now taking another step toward paperless solutions by transitioning the National Health Service (NHS), the nation's public health care network, to electronic document management.

The NHS' plan to improve care for its patients

Through the support of the government, the NHS will be granted £1 billion—equivalent to about $1.3 billion—to improve its software. This will be highly beneficial to medical professionals who work in emergency departments because they will now be able to access patient information sooner than before, according to Future Government.

Before this system, many health care providers experienced difficulty looking up a person's medical records from other parts of the UK. Some tasks like placing e-prescription orders, should be possible by March 2015, and by 2018, the entire NHS network should run on its business process software.

"Rather than imposing a clunky one size fits all approach from [the government], this fund will empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients," Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt explained.

Health care information technology has been shown to improve the quality care for patients while reducing costs for practices. The UK's decision to look into this technology will only support its "massive demand [doctors] face as the population increases," Hunt added.

Similar changes are happening in the U.S., as more than half of doctor offices and 80 percent of hospitals run an electronic medical record system. Enterprise content management can improve operations for many organizations, regardless of size.

Hospital scrambles to find four years worth of records

As more practices within the health care industry implement paperless office solutions, physicians may argue that they like their traditional paper records. Even though these methods have worked for decades, they are not always efficient when other technologies can do a better job streamlining operations.

At Hamilton Health Services (HHS) in Canada, the staff has no choice but to go through thousands of documents to figure out where their budget went between 2007-2011, according to The Spectator.

The practice's finance department said it will take five-and-a-half months to look through 23,500 paper invoices from its offsite storage facility. HHS thought it would benefit doing this because it cost the facility $3,600, but board members appealed to make the office reveal these records regardless of its specific situation.

HHS' refusal to publicly show its balance sheets violates the state's Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act. Canada law requires all public entities to keep six years worth of financial statements in case there are tax discrepancies.

"These weren't archival records from 30 years ago," Fred Vallance-Jones, leader of the audit, told the source. "In an atmosphere of increasing expectation that records on expenditures should be public, you'd hardly expect them to be squirreled away in some dark storage room somewhere and to cost thousands of dollars to get them out."

Taking the necessary steps to change a business' process software takes time, but the pay-off can save a lot people from possible headaches. Businesses within the private and public sector can benefit from electronic document management. This way, organizations can easily retrieve information that local governments may need.

City councilor encourages government bodies to go paperless

The increased efficiency and cost savings of switching to a digital system have been seen by businesses around the world. It has reached the point that many employees that work in a paperless office are starting to voice their support of the other companies following suit.

In a letter to the editor of the Galway Independent, Nuala Nolan of the Galway City Council encouraged all government bodies to pursue a paperless system. She went on to touch upon the benefits of the system that she experiences while working for a medical facility.

By getting rid of paper-based processes, she explained that it frees up front-end staff to handle more essential services. Imagine being in the emergency room and needing to ask an ill patient about their mother's maiden name and what medications they are on, instead of treating them.

"This is 21st century IT. It means that people get to do the job they are educated and trained for as all internal data systems would be linked up," Nolan wrote. "No doubt in the cases of hospital care lives would be saved as warning systems could be keyed in at each stage of the patients treatment once he or she enters the hospital door."

She continued and touched upon improving efficiency and saving money, not only on paper and ink costs, but also on external storage space.

By partnering with a document scanning and management service, any medical facility can take Nolan's advice and start implementing a paperless strategy in a smart way.

Digital patient records help save lives following tornado

There are a number of different benefits that organizations have been able to reap by adopting a paperless office. While saving space and money could be reasons enough to implement the system, if the solution can help save people lives, why are you waiting?

John Meharg, the director of health information technology at Norman Regional Health System, was interviewed by the AARP about one of the hospitals that uses their electronic medical record system, the Moore Medical Center in Oklahoma. When a massive tornado hit the area last week, 300 people hunkered down in the hospital for safety. The hospital was completely destroyed, but no one was hurt.

Hundreds of patients needed to be transferred to new facilities and because of the digital records, the move was seamless. Had the facility not adopted EHRs early on, this would have been a much different outcome.

"The first thing we would have had to do was find their records. And with all of the hustle and bustle of a disaster, they can easily get lost," Meharg said. He added that for the records that would be left behind "if the tornado doesn't get them, the subsequent rain would ruin them. The roof's gone, the walls are gone, and the windows are gone."

One of the first steps to going paperless is to partner with a document scanning and management service provide to convert existing files into a digital format. This will make sure that in the aftermath of a disaster, important records will not be lost.

Medical practice saves $25,000 annually by going paperless

One of the biggest draws to going paperless is the cost saving potential. This is easy to understand, as every business is looking for a way to save a few extra dollars, especially when the economy is still in recovery mode. In many instances, however, talk is cheap and seeing these strategies in the field is the easiest argument.

A recent Health Tech article features a profile of the opening of a new medical practice in Alberta, Canada. It covers how they went paperless and the benefits that were gleaned from it. The new facility was the idea of several doctors who hired Martin Penninga to be the office manager.

When looking for a new office space, Penninga purposely looked for a space that was too small for document storage. He cites that previous clinics he had worked in took nearly one-third of the total building space. Physicians had overhead costs of as much as 40 percent of billing revenue and required 1.5 nurses for every single physician to do administrative work.

While many of the physicians were hesitant to adopt these news solutions, they agreed. The practice, which opened in 2011, has saved $6,500 in per-physician annual costs. It also booked $25,000 more in revenue per physician than the old clinic. This has led to an overall growth for the practice of 28.4 percent.

The effect was more than just in the money. The clinic doubled the number of physicians on staff and increased the number of patients seen per year by 1,200.

This was mainly possible because the office went paperless. By partnering with an document storage and scanning practice, any business can start moving into a digital format and start saving money.

Medical practices embracing paperless practices

When the term "paperless" comes up in regard to the current state of business, many professionals think about the typical office environment. While this does make sense, it does not paint the full picture of how far the digital influence has spread or how many different industries have started to embrace it.

In a recent Dental Economics article, Dr. Kent Stapley, examined how the medical field has implemented a paperless approach.

"Today's high-tech offices don't have some 'magical' lock on all the benefits of paperless technology," wrote Stapley. "Any practice can go paperless to whatever comfort level and benefit they desire. Some offices are content with their current paperless level, while others are willing to introduce new technologies."

He discussed three specific ways that medical offices have deployed a paperless system. The first is with digital X-rays, which he considers to have facilitated the biggest productivity gain for his practice. The wait time for X-ray development is eliminated and you can easily adjust a photo and improve the quality of the image.

Second is the use of digital documents. This allows administrators to collect all patient information electronically for easier access and better organization. He added that his office has deployed a document scanning and management service to make sure every piece of paper needed is now digital and it has freed up an "amazing amount of space."

Finally there is electronic prescription writing. With the help of a mobile application, physicians can not only electronically submit subscriptions, but can also look up drug information, allergy interactions, disease interactions, renew requests and access a two-year patient history.

A paperless approach is easy to implement with the help of a document management service.

Healthcare service sees 50 percent cost savings by going paperless

Saving money has been one of the main reasons that many companies have been considering a paperless approach. But while saying cost savings will happen, producing tangible evidence is what can sway the minds of business decision-makers. That is just what a recent report did.

A recent case study that was published by Healthx – a healthcare communication provider – examined how a paperless plan can effect business operations. The report covered a pilot program with the Southeastern Indiana Health Organization (SIHO) that eliminated the use of paper Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements.

Healthx estimated that between the sheer number of pages printed and the volume in which they are distributed, EOBs cost an average of 50 cents per statement. SIHO agreed to the voluntary study at its 120- member facility. Using a Web portal and marking campaign, SIHO was able to see 57 percent user adoption and 50 percent cost reduction in just 90 days.

On top of that, once paperless, the reduction was more than 6,000 paper statements. Users that signed up for the electronic statement plan reported a 98 percent positive feedback rate citing ease of use and speed in signing up. A yet unreleased second phase of the study is planned.

"We will realize a 50 percent saving. We have reduced our spending in half – which should be a substantial amount of money that rolls into the other tangibles," Mike Clancy, vice president of IT for SIHO, said in the report. "Paperless EOB will provide our members with quicker and easier access to benefit information, right at their fingertips."

In this instance, not only did a paperless approach save money, it also increased productivity and the customer experience while immediately eliminating stacks of paper. This study did not account for the existing paperwork that will need to be scanned and organized before a completely digital system can be put in place. This task can easily be handled by a document scanning and management service.

Dentist office goes paperless to attract new customers

When one thinks about a paperless office, a typically business setting is the first company that springs to mind. However, the benefits go far beyond tossing out the stacks of paper and streamlining communication. Any organization, with some creative thinking, can reap the benefits of a paperless environment – even a dentist.

Smiles by Rosie, a new dentist's office that has opened in Somerville, Massachusetts, is doing things a bit differently. In a Somerville Beat article, Dr. Rosie Wagner – the woman behind the new dentist practice – was interviewed about why she decided to make the changes she did.

Her new office is in a building that once housed taxis and ambulances, has cheerfully painted walls that display local art, a special children's room and a Zen corner. She is accepting new patients, and targeting those that have not seen a dentist in some time nor have special needs.

The paperless environment has allowed her staff to become comfortable with other tools like mobile applications. Because of this they are able to send information to patients that may be blind or deaf in a way that is more accessible.

"I learned in my residency service that a lot of dentists don't focus on those types of patients," Wagner said. "Behavior management is a key part of dentistry. No one wants to be here. I wanted those patients to be a part of a comprehensive, flexible office."

Going paperless offers more than just a way to free up some space or share information more easily. In the case of Smiles by Rosie, it is helping more customers have access to a healthy mouth. With some creative thinking and the help of document scanning technology, any businesses can move further into a digital world.