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5 Benefits of Document Automation for Healthcare

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How much time do healthcare professionals spend on administrative tasks? A recent MedScape study revealed that, on average, doctors spend more than 15 hours each week on paperwork! Despite recent technology innovations, the time spent dealing with such tasks has risen by more than 50% in the last five years.

Of course, some paperwork is necessary. But with more than a quarter of their time spent dealing with administrative tasks, it begs the question:

What if medical professionals could spend much of that time providing direct patient care instead?

And what about those whose job it is to help with billing, coding, HR, supply orders, working with insurance providers and other administrative tasks? They play a role in patient care, too. Reducing errors and streamlining the processes associated with patient records, employees and billing can help reduce common frustrations among patients that sometimes cause them to delay care.

Automation provides numerous benefits for healthcare providers on the front lines and in the back office, allowing them to focus on the reason they entered the healthcare field in the first place: patient care. Here are just five of the benefits of healthcare document automation.

1. Enhance EMR Functionalities

Part of the reason that healthcare professionals are strapped for time is because of incomplete patient information at the point of care or multiple records from different systems that aren’t shared with a provider. These data silos result in more time than necessary being spent tracking down information. More importantly, it could result in missed details that might be critical to a patient’s treatment.

Information needs to be able to move with a patient from one provider to the next. An electronic medical record (EMR) system — sometimes referred to as an electronic health record (EHR) system — helps to securely maintain patient records. But other documentation associated with their care is typically filed elsewhere or not linked. ECM complements an EMRs functionalities by digitizing unstructured data, providing a one-stop repository that automatically provides a patient’s complete medical history.

2. Streamline Scheduling

Many types of appointments have rules associated with them that help determine the length of time that they will take. A new patient seeking treatment for pain, for example, will require more time than an existing patient who is coming in for a yearly wellness exam. Automated appointment scheduling software is a key tool to help ensure that providers are allowed sufficient time to meet with patients during their visits and avoid scheduling conflicts that pile up during the day.

Rules-based scheduling software that’s integrated with your EMR platform and online portal can help schedulers and patients make or cancel appointments more easily. Some software also sends automated appointment reminders via text, voicemail or email so patients don’t miss appointments. They can also link to forms that need to be completed prior to their visit, which will automatically link to their records and be ready and waiting upon arrival.

3. Reduce Human Error and Lead Times

There’s no substitute for a caring human touch and good bedside manners. But minimizing the human element in other operational areas can reduce the risks of errors and improve treatment. Automated tools and advanced search functionalities in medical repositories can also help providers diagnose and treat patients more quickly and accurately.

Healthcare networks can serve larger communities or regions with technology that links various systems together, automatically suggesting which locations have available appointments to get patients the care they need sooner.

4. Save Time and Money

While many healthcare facilities leverage technology, there are a surprising number that still use paper-based systems. Admission forms, faxes and questionnaires are some examples. Ensuring these documents get entered into an electronic system in a timely manner often depends on manually keying in the information into various fields.

Automated indexing uses machine learning to identify relevant information and can even recognize scanned text, allowing it to be indexed and routed properly. At first, users may need to simply confirm the data and, over time, the machine learning improves based on previous actions to become increasingly accurate with each entry.

Certain repeatable business processes and routing procedures like those in accounts payable, supply orders, HR onboarding and others can be standardized. This helps to reduce redundancies and having to start a process from scratch every time. Digital insurance claims and billing help to mitigate the back-and-forth when processing claims.

Time is money, and the improved efficiencies, less overtime and greater employee satisfaction lead to cost savings. Reduced errors also translate to fewer payouts due to medical errors. Robust automation allows everyone on a team to accomplish more during their shifts, bringing greater value to an organization.

5. Improve HIPAA Compliance

In addition to their care, patient confidentiality is a top priority. Effective ECM technology in combination with other automated systems can mitigate the risks of cyberattacks or unauthorized access to medical records. Even a facility’s printer fleet can help automate processes and ensure secure transfer of data.

For example, print management software automatically enforces compliant print behaviors with pull printing, badge readers or PIN entries. Multifunction printers can securely scan and digitize paperwork and route it to the proper person or location in an ECM or other system.

Likewise, Laserfiche ECM technology is built with automated encryption in transit and at rest and supports regulatory compliance. It maintains industry standard compliance certifications and attestations, including HIPAA.

With all the critical challenges facing the healthcare industry these days, paperwork and legacy systems shouldn’t be one of them. Gordon Flesch Company specializes in healthcare industry technology including ECM and secure print management devices and software. Learn more about securing your print environment by downloading our guide below. For a free holistic analysis of all your technological needs, including ECM, request a free technology assessment today.

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