Why Hospitals Need a Document Management System
Technological innovations have helped several verticals optimize their performance. For example, CRM software helps the sales and marketing function, LMS software helps the learning and development vertical and a cloud-based HR software helps the human resources department. Likewise, a document management system is what helps hospitals streamline their operations and improve efficiency.
A document management system (DMS) is used to track, manage and store documents, which results in the reduction of paper usage. A DMS is capable of storing records that can be created and modified by different users. It helps hospitals serve their patients much more efficiently.
Having a document management system in a hospital streamlines everything
Having an electronic document management system in hospitals not only helps the administrators and healthcare providers, but also patients on several fronts. It is a software system that organizes and stores different kinds of documents. It streamlines billing processes, allows test result and other form sharing and improves behind the scenes functioning – which results in an overall increase in the hospital’s efficiency in the following ways:
Streamlining the billing process – When people are hospitalized, finance and bills are among the most stressful aspects. The sooner and more correctly patients’ claim forms are submitted, the better and more quickly they get to know what they are up against on the financial front. It can relieve some of the stress of those who are already facing a difficult time.
Since it integrates patient documents, it makes care consistent – When every department in the hospital has access to the same patient files, it can make certain aspects of care consistent. Usually, the healthcare providers verify all the information with the patients, but not everyone is in a condition to spell out all the details all the time. For example, it is difficult for people with PTSD to narrate their experiences to every doctor, nurse and technician each time they see a new caregiver. But with a document management system in place, one note which is accessible to all caregivers can ease the patient’s stress.
Better coordination between labs and results – A document management system coordinates the flow of information from one department to another. Though many hospitals digitally share lab results, working with multiple applications can increase the odds of user error – which also slows the process. A hospital document management system should be easily accessible and accurate.
Improving behind-the-scene functions – Though administrative hiccups don’t affect the patients directly, they can surely impact the overall performance of the hospital. When hospitals streamline their back-end processes, it reduces the stress among staff members. It improves patient care by resolving issues like understaffing or overscheduling. With a hospital document management in place, you can track workflow and patterns – which can improve efficiency. Also, if you want to update pamphlets on after-surgery care, it allows you to do so in a consistent manner, and the changes you make reach everyone throughout the system.
Top five reasons you need a document management system
Administrative costs for hospitals and healthcare clinics in the United States account for over 25% of the total expenditures. A substantial part of the spending is because hospitals do a vast amount of paperwork for record keeping, billing, coding and insurance. Also, every additional visit adds to the volume. Moreover, medical facilities have to maintain all the records for a minimum of 10 years after a patient’s last visit.
Therefore, maintaining digital records and using a document management system has several advantages.
1- It saves money – A DMS reduces material and equipment, such as paper, printers, ink cartridges, etc. It also reduces the amount of storage space needed. At times, hospitals have to devote floors for record keeping. All patient records stay on the servers – either on-premises or in the cloud. It can also reduce employee costs (fewer are needed), as well as retrieval feels.
2- It also allows greater security and compliance – You can lose or damage paper documents in case of fires, mold, flooding or other types of disasters. With redundant storage features and disaster recovery solutions, your data remains safe and secure at all times. Also, all the files in your system benefit from a detailed chain of custody, in which employee names and timestamps are automatically assigned at each stage of processing.
You can also put in place access rights for sensitive patient data so that only those authorized can access it.
Facilities that use an electronic document management system can easily follow compliance regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
3- It allows faster processing with minimum errors – Physically retrieve paper documents from archives and delivering them to the departments requesting them is a time-consuming process. A digitized document management system reduces retrieval time to seconds – with no physical effort.
Since everyone has access to the same electronic medical record, any department can access the documents without the need to photocopy. Should your DMS allows file segmentation, your billing department can update payment information, and the healthcare workers can update medical data at the same time.
Also, some platforms allow real-time collaboration, in which users can make simultaneous changes to the same record without creating mismatched edits. Every record displays the most recent and accurate information – thereby ensuring fewer errors and redundancies.
4- It improves the patient experience – With a document management system in place, you can improve the overall functioning of your hospital and give your patients a positive experience. When properly implemented, a DMS can lower operating costs, as well as significantly reduce errors, processing times and privacy leaks.
5- It can be done in manageable stages – Using a DMS, it’s possible to start with a small batch of records, and use the subsequent savings to help finance the next stage. Done in this way, you’ll gain productivity and efficiency, allowing your facility to reap ever-increasing gains as you move forward with implementation.
In this time of intense competition among hospitals – as well as an increasing focus on the patient experience and patient privacy – a DMS is a necessity for every healthcare facility.