Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

Document Scanning - Where to begin??

Posted by Tom Doyle on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 @ 03:21 PM
It's easy to identify most of the leading reasons why it's become best practice for Companies in all industries to scan their business critical paper documents; Access, collaboration, Workflow, Security, Space Savings.  Don't forget regulatory compliance, Audit control and privacy concerns for good measure. Capturing, storing and retrieving any document at any time from any location allows businesses to reduce costs associated with records management while increasing process efficiency and improving customer service.

Now that you've been convinced, the next question is how? One solution that should be considered is partnering with an experienced Document Management company that offers outsourced scanning services. Many companies have made the mistake of investing in imaging hardware, software and the necessary personnel to manage high volume scanning environments, only to struggle with a process that is not at the core of what the business does. Converting paper documents to electronic images is not overly difficult, but neither is changing your own oil. Thank goodness for Jiffy Lube!

Outsourced scanning services companies can manage the process better than most in-house solutions because it is their core business. Your company leverages the economies of scale found in a service operation. Attention to detail, especially at the document preparation table is critical to the success of any scanning project. If the documents are not separated correctly, if all staples, paper clips and post it notes are not removed, the process will slow down and ultimately the results the end user sees will be uneven, causing them to lose confidence in the solution.   

Experienced Document Scanning Organizations are regularly upgrading and maintaining their equipment to take advantage of the latest technology. Advanced document recognition allows images to be read and desired keywords or index criteria automatically extracted, eliminating the need for manual data entry while keeping the cost of the service down.

Outsourcing your scanning projects allows you to concentrate on your core business functions while taking advantage of all the benefits of fast, reliable, secure document access.

Tags: Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

The 3 Best Reasons to Outsource Paper Scanning

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 @ 03:14 PM

Why Outsource Paper Scanning? Three Reasons - Cost, Speed, and Accuracy.


  1. Cost - Outsourcing your document imaging requirements to a professional document scanning company allows you to take advantage of today's leading edge technology without absorbing the ongoing costs associated with maintaining the system. There are no hardware or software upgrades, specialized personnel or annual maintenance charges to support. 
  2. Speed - Most commercially available paper scanning equipment is in the 25 to 50 Page Per Minute Range. When you outsource your paper scanning, the service provider is likely to make use of scanners that capture pages at speeds in excess of 100 pages per minute. In addition, the document preparation process, which is where most of the time is spent, can be more easily achieved by a staff of dedicated file technicians who focus on accurately sorting and preparing file for scanning.
  3. Accuracy - Perhaps the most important reason to outsource paper scanning projects is to make sure that they're done correctly. When paper scanning is assigned as a secondary responsibility for someone who already has other things to do, they're less likely to pay as close attention to it as the probably should. When you outsource paper scanning, you can have the piece of mind of knowing that the team is dedicated to processing files, not answering phones or other daily responsibilities. This helps to make sure that the job gets done right.


Outsourcing paper scanning allows companies to redirect their core resources toward the activities of greater value while still realizing the benefits of document scanning.

Tags: Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

Not Ready for an Enterprise Electronic Medical Record? Investigate a DMI Solution

Posted by Tom Doyle on Tue, Mar 16, 2010 @ 09:36 AM

It's happening...slowly! Although the Federal Government has enacted legislation providing physicians with incentives to implement EMR technology and penalties for those who do not by 2015, today only six percent of U.S. physicians use a fully functioning system. Why?

For one, Enterprise Electronic Medical Records systems require physicians and their staff to change the way they accumulate, track, store and retrieve patient medical information. These systems require physicians and staff to leverage laptops, notepads, PC's and other electronic devices to capture and update all patient related data. In short, it changes the way the health care professional delivers medical care, and with all change comes resistance.

DMI, Document management and imaging is a tool that helps bridge a totally paper based solution to a full EMR. Through the use of scanning technology, healthcare organizations can change very little regarding how care is provided, while taking advantage of organizing, securing, protecting and sharing vital patient data.

Paper documents associated with the patient chart are scanned and indexed with metadata specific to that patient, for instance, patient id. #, social security number, last name, first name and date of birth. The electronic chart can be housed on an internal server or hosted through a secure Web site. Physicians and staff that have the proper security can access the data from any computer or device, thus eliminating the need to have the paper chart. Organizations that have multiple locations can share the information and there is no longer a need to maintain file cabinets full of paper charts or even an offsite location specific to storing patient charts.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of starting the shift to EMR with a DMI solution lies in overcoming the resistance of Physicians and staff. While paper documents and forms are still used in the delivery of care, the history and management of the ongoing data is handled electronically, resulting in a more cost effective, efficient process, helping to vastly improve the level of patient care.

Tags: Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, EMR, Healthcare

Medical Document Scanning will Turn You Green

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 15, 2010 @ 07:16 AM

Medical document scanning is an efficient method to manage your medical records,  as well as a benefit to the environment as well as the economy.   By scanning medical records,  the amount of paper and trees that could be saved is astounding.  When you consider that the average patient medical file contains about 75 Pages, and multiply it by the total number of patients in the United States, which is upwards of  307 Million, there are more than 23 Billion Pages of Medical Information scattered across today’s hospitals, clinics, and medical practices. This number multiplies exponentially when you start to consider that most people have separate charts at their Dentist, Podiatrist, and other specialists that they may visit.

When it comes to the mountains of paper that is used every year to print medical records and the cost of space to store these records, as well as the liability of unauthorized access to medical information a medical document scanning solution becomes very attractive. By Scanning Medical Records, not only is there a positive impact on the environment, but there are even more significant economic benefits that come along with the Nationwide push towards Electronic Medical Records.


Recently,  grants that have been established to encourage states, doctors and hospitals to enter the age of computerized record keeping. 

Medical transactions require a minimum of one sheet of paper per medical record claim submission, another sheet for claim payment and another sheet for claim remittance.  Usually the file contains much more than the minimum, including updated insurance information and insurance authorization, signed copies of HIPAA consent,   studies or test results related to the patient, as well as the doctor’s notes and observations. 

According to the U.S. Healthcare Efficiency Index, paper medical records are “costly, inefficient and prone to errors.”   An independent actuarial study performed by Milliman Inc. considered six key transactions:

•   Claims Submission

•   Eligibility Verification

•   Referral Certification

•   Preauthorization for Care

•   Claim Status

•   Payment posting

According to their analysis scanning medical records and medical document scanning could reduce annual insurance administration costs by more than $42,000 per physician.  And so, While it may not literally turn YOU green, starting the process of scanning medical records in your practice , clinic, or hospital can help improve not only the environment, but also the efficiency and economics of the practice.

Tags: Records Management, Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, Healthcare

The Best Way to Clean Your Scanner

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Mar 03, 2010 @ 06:37 AM
I've been using scanners for more than fifteen years, and like many users, I'm often confounded my the amount of dust and debris that comes from what seems like clean sheets of paper. When you think about it, how the heck did the files get that dirty in the first place?!? I've spent countless hours in our scanning service operation using canned air, cleaning sheets, and other "advanced" cleaning kits to try and keep the scanner as clean and free from dust, all with the intent of ensuring that I was capturing the best possible images.

Well, about three months ago, I found an awesome solution, and it needs to be Swiffer Duster Scanner Cleaningshared. The answer is the Swiffer Duster. These little gems can be used to clean hard-to-reach places around your home or office, but when you use them to clean a scanner, something magical happens. Instead of pushing the dust around the inside of your scanner, the electro-static  Swiffer Duster will actually collect and remove the dist from the scanner, leaving you with a dust-free, clean scanner - ready to capture all of your important scans.

Keep in mind that the Swiffer Duster will not replace your regularly scheduled maintenance, and that you'll still need to change rollers and clean other parts of your valuable scanner, but on a day to day basis, it will save time and money by keeping your equipment running at peak performance.

If you're ready to give it a try, you can save a bundle by just buying the Swiffer Duster refills and using them like traditional cleaning cloths. They'll grab that dust and leave you with a cleaner, better performing scanner in minutes.

Have you tried it yet? Please share your experiences or other great scanner maintenance tips in the comments.

Tags: Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Scanners

Scanning for EMR and EHR - About Paper Chart Scanning

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Mar 02, 2010 @ 02:04 PM
A lot is made about the advent of the Electronic Medical Record, and with good reason. The technology that allows medical practitioners to access real-time information and patient history with the click of a mouse has already proven itself and undoubtedly helped to save lives. Now, with the federal government providing incentives that will allow more and more medical practices to take advantage of these technologies, the number of practices and facilities using these systems (EMR, EHR, etc.) is multiplying rapidly.

There's an important component of these systems that is being overlooked, however, electronic medical recordsand that's the legacy Patient information that has historically been stored in paper charts. As the number of implementations of EMR Systems skyrockets, Medical Practices across the country are looking at hundreds, if not thousands, of paper-based charts and asking themselves the same question - "What do I do with all of this?"

The reality of the situation is that it takes an inordinate amount of time to sit down in front of a screen and perform manual data entry from paper-based charts, and that chart scanning is a more efficient way to deliver content to these systems. Most, if not all, of the leading EHR and EMR platforms have some really great utilities to allow practices to retrieve and view images, and by scanning legacy patient history into these systems, Practices, Hospitals, and Clinics can start to truly take advantage of all of the benefits these systems have to offer.

But where do you start? For most practices, the logical course of action is to procure a scanner. There are many great models to choose from, and the choices may seem dizzying to some. Do I need a scanner with an ADF? Does it need to be Duplex? Should it have the good old Bilinear-Interpolation Feature? It sometimes can seem like it's easier to build a lunar module than to scan Patient Charts into your shiny new EMR or EHR System. And then, once you've gone ahead and purchased the scanner, you're faced with the reality that someone will need to pull all of the staples, sort the pages, and then sit in front of a computer and scan all of these charts and tag them with patient data.

If this process seems like more work than you're willing to take on, take comfort in knowing that there is another option to fill your EMR or EHR System with all of your paper charts. There are professional companies that specialize in outsourced scanning of medical charts, and many of these companies will make this process a breeze. For a low, per-page price, you can send your patient charts out to a Document Conversion service center that will perform all of the document preparation, scanning and indexing, and will also help to upload all of your scanned data into your EMR or EHR System.

When choosing to outsource the process to a document conversion service provider, and especially with Medical Records such as Patient Charts, it's critical to work with a company that has experience, however. You should ask to speak with references of other practices that the company has worked with, and also obtain a HIPAA Business Associates agreement to have peace of mind that you're information is being kept confidential. Once you've found the right partner though, you should be able to be up and running in a few short weeks with all of your patient history and paper chart information loaded into the Electronic Medical Record System, available when and where you need it.

Tags: Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, Healthcare