Busy medical practices that have recently transitioned to EMR (or plan to) know that they have to decide how to most efficiently integrate paper-based patient chart information into their new electronic system. The most complete and cost-effective way to realize the full benefit of electronic records in the long run is to image all the charts and make those chart images available from within the implemented EMR system. Why?

  • Practices realize the continued cost burden of storage (either on or off-site), chart retrieval, print, copy, fax, and re-file.
  • Paper charts or parts of them can easily get lost or misfiled.
  • Paper charts take up valuable space either in storage boxes on or off-site or sitting on shelves within the Practice.

Scanning Services can deploy systems and software on-site that can efficiently digitize and produce high quality optimized images of your chart folders that can be made available within the implemented EMR system. In this way, charts will remain on-site and in your control during processing.

Scanning services can deploy high-speed scanners and software to allow the importing of charts in bulk. Utilizing barcode technology and specialized folder detection to assist with indexing, services can effortlessly process 1000’s of charts daily.

Some services can even offer secure access to intranet web applications that tightly integrate with the existing Practice database. This information is used to reconcile the status of patient charts during the scan process and can provide real-time statistical feedback to the service company and practice during scan processing.

The service staff would work closely with office administrative personnel to provide scan processing feedback as well as facilitate pulling charts during the conversion process. In this way even active charts can be scanned with no impact on the practice daily business work flow.

Outsourced scanning services are typically well-equipped to handle processing of thousands of patient charts a month. Some can additionally implement stream-lined import into industry leading vendors like NextGen, gMed, and ChartCapture or can implement quick integration solutions to most EMR systems.  Actual rates are based on completion targets, equipment speed and staffing.

Practices should seriously consider complete digitization of all paper patient chart documents for maximizing the efficiency and utilization of an EMR implementation.

Michael S. Hawkins
Business Development
OptiScan Inc.