Medical Document Scanning Services For Conversion To Electronic -


Medical Document Scanning Services For Conversion To Electronic

By Loris F. Anders

Health care providers have no choice in the matter, they are mandated by law to convert paper medical records to electronic files. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, also known as HITECH, makes electronic records a requirement. The mandate has caused considerable grief among health care facilities. Thankfully, companies have been formed that provide medical document scanning services to achieve this daunting transition.

Hospitals and other health care facilities have enormous amounts of paper records from years past. The task to convert all these paper documents to electronic files is almost unimaginable. The job goes beyond passing documents through a scanner. People doing this work must have an appreciation of the filing system and how to name and save the electronic files. Unless there is an organized system, files cannot be retrieved.

Paper documents must be arranged systematically to be compatible with the electronic medical records software in current use by the health care facility. Protocols for how to name the electronic files and where to save them for later retrieval must be established. These steps are critical to having retrievable medical records.

Health care providers absolutely need a qualified, trusted and secure document scanning service. There are years worth of paper files with paper clips, post its and staples that have to be removed before the documents are scanned. There can also be X rays that need to be converted into electronic images, which requires a special type of scanner.

The health care providers must maintain the chain of command of records in order to be compliant with HIPAA regulations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is referred to as HIPAA. The purpose of HIPAA is to ensure the privacy of health information. Every time records change hands there is a risk of breaching this privacy.

After the hard copies have been converted to electronic files, the question of how to dispose of the paper documents still remains. Some physicians choose to store the paper documents, but that does present an ongoing expense. If the records are to be disposed of, this too must be in accordance with HIPAA. Secure shredding is another service offered by these companies.

These companies are providing a very necessary services. Hospitals are ill equipped to do this work, and hiring temporary employees is a plan fraught with the probability of errors and mishandling. A staff trained and dedicated to converting paper documents is the best way to approach the requirement for electronic patient records.

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