Close paper gaps with intelligent medical records classification

The healthcare industry has come a long way in regards to digitization over the past decade, to be sure. In fact, 96 percent of all non-federal acute care hospitals now use electronic medical record (EMR) technology, according to

However, the adoption of EMRs hasn’t had the marked impact on paper reduction that experts initially anticipated. Paper still dominates many healthcare processes – both clinical and operational – and can have a significant impact on productivity, care and the comprehensiveness of the digital patient record.

This is the paper gap.

Finding ways to effectively digitize this paper and automate the processes associated with it are key to reducing the administrative burden on your healthcare staff, particularly your health information management (HIM) department.

The paper problem persists

Just because a hospital leverages EMR technology doesn’t mean it extends to every aspect of the facility’s clinical operations. It also has no bearing on the paper practices of that hospital’s care partners or of peer providers referring the patient to the healthcare system.

For example, the physician groups, physical therapists, psychiatric care providers, home care and long-term care facilities that hospitals work with may still use paper-based processes. Therefore, clinical documents – including referral letters, clinical narratives, treatment notes and more – are often sent to hospitals in paper form.

Add prescriptions and pharmacy records, which largely remain paper-based, and the nearly 1,000 faxed pages hospitals still send and receive monthly to that list as well.

The paper gap just got wider.

All of that paper information stands in opposition to the purpose of the EMR, unless the healthcare organization has a systematic way to classify, digitize and index that paper and associate it with the digital record. Health information management professionals are often tasked with sifting through this paper, scanning it and manually classifying and indexing these documents. This process is often time consuming and subject to human error.

Deploy a robust medical records classification solution

Luckily, intelligent data capture and document classification solutions are available to help automate many of the manual steps that can bog down the digitization process. Modern intelligent data capture solutions can capture, process and transform virtually any type of paper-based or digital document into useful and actionable information. By leveraging pattern-based recognition algorithms, these systems can learn from multiple data sets to continuously improve their accuracy and performance.

The right intelligent classification technology can identify medical documents in as little as five seconds – 35 seconds faster than the average time it takes a human to identify the same material. This accelerated workflow saves time and money while improving accuracy and consistency.

With intelligent document classification, you:

  • Automate key steps in the process, from scanning and delivering the image via workflow to exporting extracted data to the appropriate clinical or business system
  • Extract much of the data needed to process any medical document
  • Drastically reduce the need for exception handling and error correction

If that isn’t enough, you also:

  • Remove the most time-consuming steps related to document preparation and scanning
  • Eliminate entry points for human error while cutting labor costs associated with manual processing
  • Create consistent standards and rules to govern medical document types

Close the gap

In addition to these process benefits, intelligent document classification also provides several operational efficiencies. For example, a streamlined classification workflow can help shorten patient length of stay, reduce labor costs and improve the visibility of patient information to improve clinical decisions and outcomes.

Perhaps most importantly, helping healthcare organizations slash the time they spend on medical records digitization gives staff members more time to devote to tasks that have a more direct impact on patient care and the overall patient experience.

Ready to close the gap? Download the whitepaper Efficient digitization of medical records.

Tom Tennant

Tom Tennant

Tom Tennant, a senior editor and creator on Hyland’s content marketing team, joined Hyland in 2010 as its first brand journalist. He was a news editor and reporter before diving... read more about: Tom Tennant

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