The promise of an accessible health history that speaks volumes when seconds count. Imagine: With a few mouse clicks, seeing on a computer monitor, every relevant piece of information that you are authorized to access pertaining to a patient. Now imagine images—radiological images, handwritten physician notes, requisitions, and lab reports—that are gathered in one place. With controlled privacy, clinicians and administrative staff can access an audit trail of a patient’s health and benefit history. While this vision is advancing under many names, there’s broad consensus that the day of the electronic medical record (EMR) is drawing closer. In fact, in the United States it’s expected to be realized within the next 10 years.
Much of the required technology exits today. But according to a 2005 RAND Corporation study cited in the September 14, 2005 issue of “Health Affairs,” only about 20 to 25 percent of hospitals and 15 to 20 percent of physician offices have adopted any type of patient information system, and those systems are generally limited in their ability to share information with other providers.
As any observer of the medical information scene can tell you, much work remains to be done before the EMR becomes widespread. Important hurdles remain. Standards must be written. Cross-organizational rules for the exchange of information must be hashed out. HIPAA transaction and code sets are still evolving. Cultural barriers must be breached and funding must be secured.
Fortunately, clinicians and healthcare administrators can jumpstart an important facet of the EMR without waiting for consensus. By digitizing documents into electronic images, paperwork such as reports and forms can be posted and shared online. This approach, called infoimaging, leverages mature technology proven through many years of application in highly accountable, paper-intensive industries including financial services, insurance, and federal, state and local government.
Infoimaging technology represents the convergence of image and information for presentation to users under one interface. It’s a cornerstone of what the healthcare industry is driving toward with its vision of a unified EMR. It helps meet the requirements of HIPAA while it simplifies consultation among clinicians at the same time. Plus, the EMR opens up new avenues to statistical analysis of disease and care. Best of all, you can start implementing it today.
In a new report, “Imaging and Workflow Automation: Moving toward a Paperless Organization” PayStream Advisor analysts highlight the benefits of document imaging and workflow (IWA) solutions in Accounts Payable and offer insights into their impact on approval processing as well as Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiatives.
Many organizations are scrambling to tie the loose ends in their SOX compliance processes. Smaller public companies, those with a market capitalization of less than $75 million, have won a brief reprieve from SOX compliance; however, the estimated 5,000 companies still "on the hook" are seeking ways to minimize the impact of compliance while harnessing the value of the data gathered.
In a recent survey, companies reported a 42 percent decline in SOX compliance costs, much of that decline can be attributed to improvements in documentation processes and improved financial and process controls, according to PayStream Advisors.
“As organizations wrestle with the reality of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, they are turning to technology and automation options to alleviate some of the pain. Our recent Financial Automation Survey revealed that SOX has increased interest in new financial automation technologies at more than 60 percent of organizations surveyed”, noted Sush Koka, Senior Research Analyst at the Charlotte, NC-based firm. “We believe that IWA solutions can facilitate the compliance process and reduce costs by providing comprehensive audit trials and by simplifying the review of internal controls.”
The 75-page Imaging and Workflow Automation (IWA) report is aimed at corporate decision makers who want to learn about opportunities in imaging and workflow and are interested in evaluating service providers for their accounts payable and purchasing departments.