Preparing the Files to be Scanned
The most important and time-consuming part of the scanning process is prepping the files for scanning. Before files can be scanned all staples and paper clips must be removed and all Post-it notes must be taped into position to ensure that they can pass through the scanner without jamming it. It is important that all messages and notes containing information are attached to a page in a way that it can easily be referenced in the new digital format. Another important step during the file preparation is the insertion of bar coded cover sheets. These sheets identify document index data, as well as provide section or document break information.
Preparing the files takes time and care. Skilled and experienced professionals, like the staff from OptiScan®, can process thousands of sheets per hour and take the strain off of an already busy office staff allowing them to focus on what they do best.
The Scanning Process
First, let’s take a moment to talk about scanners. Not all scanners are created equal and it is important that your Scanning Service works with your practice to select equipment appropriate for your needs. Scanners come in different shapes, sizes and speeds – and are generally priced accordingly. The average page rates for medium to high level scanners range from 60-100 pages per minute. Scanning companies, such as OptiScan, will use their experience and assess each clients needs individually and select equipment based on these needs.
Once the equipment has been chosen and the files have been prepped it is time to scan the data. As the pages are scanned they are imported directly into a software system, like OptiScan®ChartWorx, where the barcodes are read and key index data is retrieved and entered into the database.
After the Scan – Quality Control
Once the scanning is complete, the work is far from over. The newly scanned data enters into the quality control phase, where data is carefully reviewed by experienced professionals to ensure that it meets the company’s quality standards. These professionals enhance the scanned images to improve readability and orientation, as well as delete irrelevant scans. The next step of the quality control phase is the index validation. During this phase, the quality control professionals will validate the barcode index data and section break location. Additional index information can be efficiently keyed in or merged with external databases, if required. Once this step is complete, the documents are ready to be exported to PDF’s and delivered according to the clients’ requirements. The new files can then be imported into the clients’ EMR system and linked with the patients’ information.
As you can see, there are many steps involved in transitioning from paper-based patient charts to digital charts. With the importance of the legacy paper-based chart information, it is essential to understand the entire process and the value that a Scanning Services company, such as OptiScan, brings to it.
Michael S. Hawkins