Iowa clinic learns the advantages of going paperless

February 6, 2013

When the Obama administration announced that there would be financial incentives through Medicare and Medicaid payments to healthcare facilities that used electronic medical records, hospitals around the nation began making the transition to electronic document storage. In addition to the financial encouragement, many are finding that using digital records is providing a number of other advantages as well.

The Family Health Care of Siouxland Indian Hills Clinic in Sioux City, Iowa began using electronic documents in 2006, according to the and_life/electronic-medical-records-replace-need-for-transcriptionists/article_5fce039f-7f12-59aa-97e8-133b296140a9.html” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Sioux City Journal. Now that the entire system is electronic, the manger explained a number of differences in how the clinic office operates.

The hospital was able to eliminate the medical transcriber positions now that doctors type their notes, saving the clinic money. In addition, with all documents and records digital, there are no fears of losing or misplacing a patient’s files.

“There’s no losing paper,” Linda Mulder, the clinic’s customer service representative said. “If you’re very proficient on the computer and you like looking up stuff that way, then it’s easier.”

The hospital does employ an on-call transcriber in case a written note, possibly from another hospital, needs to be looked at. But as more healthcare facilities also become all digital, the need for a transcriber may not exist at all.

To go paperless, Mulder and others scanned, and continue to scan, “pathology reports, living wills, hospital records and other medical documents” into the electronic document storage system. But other larger companies with a high volume of records may have a harder time bringing all paper documents up to speed, and bulk scanning services can help large businesses and hospitals with going paperless. With less paper, business can cut back on their carbon footprint as well as save administration costs, as the Family Health Care has discovered.

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