The True Costs of Paper-Based Systems

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By Roger Player 
WorldView Ltd.
The True Costs of Paper-Based Systems

Paper is just so darn convenient, isn’t it? Grabbing a piece of paper to record something is so ingrained that it’s difficult for many of us to give it up. But that convenience doesn’t offset the true cost of paper, which we often overlook.

In addition to the cost of purchasing paper, ink and printers, add the labor involved with filing, retrieving and copying. And then add the file cabinets and the office and warehouse space they take up.

Now consider the cost of not having full access to documents or the difficulties involved in sharing them. Also consider the importance of easy access and document sharing during an audit.

An alternative to the costs associated with a paper-based system is moving to an electronic home health document management system. Here are four best practices to make it easier to move to an electronic home health document management system.

  1. Align your document management requirements to your business goals. Consider the processes you use today and ask yourself: What are our key challenges in terms of accessing and sharing documents? Then create potential use cases for electronic document management, looking at both current and future needs.
  2. Engage key stakeholders. Once you have a roadmap for deployment, work on getting buy-in from management and end users. Share use cases to show you’ve carefully considered how the system will be used and how it will improve workflow.
  3. Communicate across the board. Let everyone in the organization know you are implementing a solution so other departments don’t end up with a different system.
  4. Include senior management in strategic planning sessions. As you consider how the system will be deployed and used, be sure senior management has a chance to weigh in.

In addition to providing permission-based access to documents from all departments, a HIPAA- compliant home health document management system will allow automatic electronic document routing (e.g., invoices received via a dedicated electronic fax are automatically sent to accounting), timer-based notifications and reporting features.

Many healthcare organizations haven’t considered the overall cost of their paper-based systems. For example, Hospice of Wichita Falls in Texas has an average daily census of 220 patients and estimated it was spending tens of thousands of dollars on its paper-based processes, agency execs said. Staff often duplicated efforts to distribute information. Now, with WorldView, this information is at employees’ fingertips, execs said. The largest issue with its previous process was the vulnerability for possible HIPAA violations. Copying and distributing documents to staff left room for error in this arena, which was resolved by the secure electronic accessibility WorldView provides.

The agency said it achieved positive ROI on the implementation after six months. Considering the returns and peace of mind gained by WorldView, the solution was a welcomed change.

That makes the decision to move to a document management system even easier!

Want to learn more? Here are five benefits of document management.

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