Reaching a “paperless” state as defined under HIMSS Stage 7 is an exciting vision, but for most healthcare organizations the journey will be long. Now, more than ever, administrators need to have an enterprise-wide document management strategy that integrates staffing resources, workflows, and technology to protect document and data integrity for your organization regardless of where records move to support the patient —whether within a stand-alone hospital or across multiple hospitals, clinics, physician practices and long term care facilities. When developing your document management strategy, keep these four elements in mind:
Build a robust plan: Take time to gain the input of stakeholders to help secure cross-organizational buy-in and span all information touch points. For example, enabling systems to capture faxes and forms, save copies and images securely and store these files for quick retrieval will help your team stay on-track, support HIPAA compliance standards, and ultimately drive better patient care at your facilities.
Empower your HIM team: As the data stewards, health information management (HIM) teams are charged with the task of making sure that patient information securely arrives at the correct electronic destinations. Thousands of paper documents are created daily, so when creating a document management strategy, usability and scalability are key. HIM bandwidth is already stretched thin for most teams, particularly with the increased acquisitions of physician practices, mergers, and regulatory deadlines. Appointing a project leader to monitor the timeliness of information conveyance will help ensure the right information arrives at the correct destination on time.
Maximize Workflows: Identify which documents are high-priority and work with staff to determine a process for transmitting this vital information quickly and consistently across your healthcare system. Leveraging tools to streamline processes and boost efficiency will help keep HIM employees productive, while providing patient information to care teams where and when they need it in a secure and controlled manner.
Leverage Technology: Selecting tools and technology that will help your organization manage the complexity of healthcare information today when working in hybrid environments and patient records, while keeping an eye on the future is no small task. To fully maximize productivity, ensure the security of PHI, and drive improved patient care, evaluate your current processes, platforms and IT systems and ask: Is your document management solution versatile and scaleable? Can it accommodate changing business needs, does it streamline current practices? Does it support paper and digital content and will it help transition to EHRs? Will it work with existing technology and legacy systems? Is it secure and does it help you meet your HIPAA compliance requirements? Do existing technologies, such as your multi-function printers (MFPs) support EHR requirements?
Investing the time to involve all relevant stakeholders in devising a document management strategy will ensure cross-organizational buy-in and ensure your organization invests in the right solution for your unique challenges.