To help hospitals prepare for the potential flood of patients once the Affordable Care Act is implemented in 2014 and Medicare and Medicaid expands, facilities are turning to more efficient systems. Part of the new law will require the use of electronic medical records, or providers face a tax penalty, and many are making the switch to the digital system to comply. But even outside the U.S., hospitals are adopting similar software, using the more efficient system to provide better care.
InformationWeek found doctors of the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (CCC) in the U.K. carry around suitcases due the immense volumes of patient files. Since the hospital cares for residents of the two nearby counties, physicians were often required to travel, bringing all needed files with them. The CCC is currently in the process of transitioning to an electronic record system, but still has a ways to go.
Currently 750,000 documents have been scanned. But, “to get to the finish line and scrap its racks of suitcases, the center must scan a backlog of 20,000 active patient medical note files,” the article reads, which could take up to a year and a half. However, once this is completed, one doctor hopes that his time spent on administrative work will go from 40 percent of time spent to 20 or even 10 percent.
While eventually all papers will be digital, having some on paper and some scanned could make the filing system even more complicated than when everything was on paper. With bulk scanning services, healthcare facilities like the CCC can have a smoother transition to an electronic system, keep administrative costs down and efficiency levels up.