Things to do in the hospitals information-technology department this week:
- Check the payment processing glitch that popped up again in the dermatology practice.
- Conduct semiannual test of disaster-recovery systems.
- Scan 6 million medical records and convert them to electronic files stored on a secure network.
The one-year rollout will require scanning old records, training staff to manage the new system and planning electronic storage needs. Youll want to convert at least the last five years of old records, often called a backfile, which total roughly 6 million documents. In the interests of speed and efficiency, plan to outsource that work to a production facility. Meanwhile, a systems integrator will help you implement the browser-based EDM application and train full-time staffers to handle your "day-forward" scanning—the 100,000 documents a month your hospital will continue to generate.
"Youll never get completely away from paper," says Bruce Bolton, vice president of technology at Portford Solutions Group Inc., an Orange, Calif., consultancy that specializes in health-care document management. "The key is to make sure that information is current, available and secure."