Don’t Ignore the Business Side When Digitizing Healthcare Records

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Experience with the benefits of paperless records on the clinical side of operations should encourage medical facilities and institutions to extend those benefits to the business side.

The value of electronic health records by now is undeniable. Under a virtual federal mandate to digitize medical records by 2014, medical offices and institutions have been scurrying to convert their paper patient records—sometimes consuming as much real estate as clinical areas—to electronic form. EHR already has been demonstrating its value, making records quickly and easily available to emergency rooms and specialists and allowing analysts to more rapidly spot trends in the spread of disease and in medical care.

According to Vaccine News, for example, electronic records “helped to reduce the lag time between data submitted on vaccinations, along with, in some cases, reducing the paper work and staff time devoted to traditional ways of doing these submissions. This was shown to increase the health professionals’ knowledge about individuals, which helped them make more informed decisions.”

As voluminous as they may be, however, health records embody only a small fraction of the paper produced by a typical hospital.  The documents associated with accounts payable, patient billing, and insurance forms represent a massive portion of the overhead in health care.

Consequently, experience with the benefits of paperless records on the clinical side of operations should encourage medical facilities and institutions to extend those benefits to the business side. Many of these healthcare organizations have implemented enterprise resource planning platforms like Microsoft Dynamics which can help patients manage their care and its cost. But still these facilities have frequently found themselves shuffling piles of paper in accounting offices and on the desks of those across the enterprise who must approve expenditures.

For accounting personnel, the need to manage paper-based invoices, purchase orders, vendor documentation and other materials frequently causes delays and blind spots. Invoices from vendors typically arrive in accounting and then are distributed to approvers, where the paperwork may sit in inboxes for days or weeks. En route around the business office, documentation may be lost or damaged, leading to further delays or neglect.

Without having all invoices at hand, accounting executives cannot make accurate financial projections, because they do not have a complete picture of the organization’s financial situation. Additionally, they have no way to determine which invoices are missing or where they may reside.

This paper chase is not an infrequent issue. A Metafile study two years ago asked 200 executives about the way they manage invoices, and 73 percent said they internally share invoices in a paper format. Still, a large proportion of these companies have the systems they need to go digital on the business side—they simply need to integrate their technology.

By integrating a paperless document management system like MetaViewer with Microsoft Dynamics, for instance, accounting departments can eliminate all their paper processes. These solutions automatically transform paper invoices into digital data, extracting the key data that accounting requires, such as the name of a vendor, invoice number, amounts, payment dates and terms. It does away with duplicate payments and invoices and manages all these elements before any of the data enters the ERP accounting system.

Paperless ERP also improves accuracy and process speed. MetaViewer provides workflow automation that accelerates invoice approvals, and once the data has been automatically entered into the system, every invoice can be tracked. In this way, management maintains a complete view of all the payments that are due and can be much more accurate in its planning.

The digital data generated by Paperless ERP allows everyone in the organization to fully trust the information that is available to them. Since data is entered just once and is rolled out through the system, everyone knows he or she is working with the same version of the data and that it is timely in its content.

The results of adopting Paperless ERP in business offices frequently are very dramatic reductions in costs. The organization no longer needs to dedicate people and salaries to managing stacks and files of paper documents but can use those individuals for higher-value, revenue-producing tasks. Also, timely payments mean that the organization can take advantage of vendor discounts for meeting payment deadlines, while eliminating penalties for late payments.

Further cost reductions can be realized when the organization places its ERP technology in the cloud. Rather than buying, installing, maintaining and regularly upgrading infrastructure in its own server room, the company can rely on the cloud host to supply all the most current applications, storage space and automation that is necessary. With cloud versions of solutions like MetaViewer integrated with Microsoft Dynamics, businesses just pay a low monthly, per-user subscription fee, keeping up-front costs for hardware and software licensing very low. When the healthcare organization is ready to expand its personnel, geographical scope, or range of care, cloud-based Paperless ERP makes scaling up just an easy matter of adding users to the subscription.

For your organization to be in top shape, you should focus on digitizing both medical records and accounting records. Your profitability will take on a healthier glow, and your personnel will shed anxiety in favor of a smoother-running, more confident operation.

Nick Sprau, VP of Marketing
Metafile Information Systems, Inc.

1 thought on “Don’t Ignore the Business Side When Digitizing Healthcare Records”

  1. Nice Post !!!
    I truly like to reading your post.
    Post is very informative and all the points are very easy to understand.
    Softsys International introduce another software for Hospital Management System. It's really good idea to use ERP Software for Healthcare System.
    Thanks for sharing such a nice post...

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