To Scan, or Not to Scan…

Whether you are implementing a new Electronic Health Record (EHR), integrating your current EHR with another EHR, or installing a Document Management System (DMS) for the first time, there is something that you should not overlook: paper. Although the HITECH Act has spurred the EHR movement and encouraged electronic provider documentation, healthcare systems still find themselves scanning paper documentation due to certain workflow decisions, regulations, or limitations within the EHR. As health systems make the complex “journey” from paper to an electronic or hybrid environment, it is more important than ever to ensure that a patient’s record is complete – including that loose paper! As you make this transition, there are some critical considerations to take into account:

  • Determine if information that has historically been documented on paper should be transitioned to electronic documentation in the EHR (some paper documents, like consents, may initially be out of scope for your implementation)
  • Define a process for reproducing patients’ records from the legacy system, while accounting for the differences in your new EHR
  • Separate particular service line (psychotherapy, substance abuse, cosmetic scans, etc.) paper documentation from general disclosures, while still accounting for them as a part of your Legal Medical Record (LMR) with restricted access
  • Define data integrity policies & procedures, along with associated scanning & EHR workflows, to correct improperly indexed documents that have already been released outside of your organization
  • Outline how the EHR will impact or alter your LMR, and how your organization will account for e-discovery
  • Determine what operational considerations you will need to make: standardize scanning processes, implement centralized or decentralized scanning, restrict document security and consolidate naming conventions and document types to promote consistency across the organization

Since each scanning vendor has different functionality and integration capabilities with EHRs, a “one size fits all” mentality is not always the best approach when implementing a DMS. Sure, the methodology behind the implementation may be consistent, but failing to take into account a healthcare organization’s nuances like current EHR workflows, geographic diversity, staff resource limitations, and confidentiality needs could result in a less than successful solution.

At Wilshire we have Epic certified HIM consultants with years of experience integrating DMS with an EHR, resulting in an accurate and complete hybrid patient record. We combine our broad customer experience (ranging from rural hospitals to top-ranked academic healthcare organizations) with our extensive EHR knowledge to ensure that we identify common pain points and workflow barriers, while taking into consideration your organization’s unique needs. Our HIM consultants bring their experience to the table to ensure a successful integration between your DMS and EHR.

Contact Jennifer Esterbrooks today for more information.