10 Data Capture Tools for Turning Hard-Copy Records Into EHRs
Zebra HC100 Thermal Printer
Zebra's HC100 thermal printers are used to print the wristband labels in a hospital's supply chain area or pharmacy, said Torres. When nurses scan a patient's ID card and then print out a wristband from a mobile printer to place on a medicine vial, the process is safer for patients than if a nurse pulled a label from a sheet of paper containing information for multiple patients, said Torres. "The barcode and the mobile printer really are just key to this patient safety effort that is the basis for the electronic health record," she said.
With all the paper forms in health care that need to be imported into electronic health records (EHRs), doctors and clinicians need simple ways to convert all this hard-copy data into digital formats. Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark and Zebra Technologies have developed the tools to make this possible. Along with multifunction printers, HP offers a data capture and route application and Lexmark offers software for capturing data from an Apple iPad. Close to a quarter of patient records include unstructured content such as paper, forms, faxes and clinical images, according to Hyland Software, which offers electronic content management (ECM) applications. In addition, Zebra provides barcoding technologies, which close a data-loop process from capturing info from health care forms to storing data in EHRs, according to Alicia Torres, the company's health care global practice leader. Barcoding also allows health care professionals to identify and track assets such as medication vials through a hospital workflow, said Torres. "The focus around health care today is particularly barcoding," said Torres. "It's not only at the patient bedside for focusing on improving efficiencies and patient safety but also around ancillary departments like ambulatory, pharmacy and materials management." For this slide show, eWEEK highlights some technologies that allow health care professionals to capture analog data for transfer into EHRs.