Overcoming “Scanning Anxiety”
By Cole McClung
So the time has come to implement a sophisticated, functional Electronic Health Records (EHR) or Document Management (DM) system, thus eliminating the frustration of loose documents and patient records flying around the office.
Where do you start? The planning, executing and conversion of the physical documents themselves into an EHR or DM system is the initial phase. It may sound straightforward, but the complexity of that phase is often eye-opening for those involved. It entails project planning, document preparation, file indexing, quality control, as well as the transportation of the documents themselves.
Because of these project requirements, the vendor selection process becomes that much more important. Trusting someone with your document scanning project takes due diligence and, at times, the patience to ask the right questions and get satisfactory answers. Whether in terms of knowledge, character, safety protections, capabilities, etc., each vendor has different strengths and weaknesses. The key is to find a vendor that will accommodate and fit your project’s needs.
During your decision process, and to confirm you are making the right decision, below are a few questions to consider before you choose someone to do this critical job.
Are you hearing anything negative about the vendor?
Do they run a successful business?
What are their technical capabilities?
Is scanning a focal point for them or an afterthought?
Where are they located?
Is their office building secure?
Will they pick up the documents?
Will they drop documents off once digitized, if required?
Do they have shredding capabilities?
Is the vendor trying to change your goals?
Are their recommendations out of the ordinary?
Do they know about your business or do they just seem focused on getting the project?
How does this vendor compare to other vendors?
Is the pricing clear and straightforward?
Does the first impression pass the eye test?
Can you envision a business relationship with this vendor?
Are their employee’s full time or part time?
Is their software and hardware technology up-to-date and sufficient?
Can they meet timelines if required?
The pressure “go digital” is at an all-time high thanks to the new government regulations of the healthcare industry. If a medical office puts the necessary time and effort are into implementing these processes, it is possible to legally and securely accomplish this giant task while also remaining compliant with HIPAA and the many other laws and regulations. The good news is that many facilities that have completed the transition (and the requisite staff training) are finding that a functional EHR or DM system considerably increases efficiency and improves operational processes.
The first step to guaranteeing that the system will properly serve its purpose once implemented is selecting a vendor who can accommodate your document scanning needs and goals. If the first step of implementation - the conversion of documents - is done ineffectively, it's unlikely that your EHR or DM system will produce the results you desire. Answering the above questions will help ensure that you choose the right document scanning provider to make your scanning project a success.
Cole McClung is a senior consultant at Active Data Systems in Sioux Falls.