Electronic Document Management Systems: What Are They?
Electronic Document Management systems are the present and the future of records management. The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) changed the way Private Health Information (PHI) is disclosed and managed, creating an environment where PHI is strictly guarded to ensure that only the minimum amount of information necessary to answer the question(s) can be released to an authorized agency or individual.
Traditional document management systems rely on storing bulky physical files in a storeroom or warehouse; putting PHI at an increased risk of violation anytime someone enters the records storage area. Electronic Document Management systems enable your company to restrict information access to only the minimum amount of information that is necessary to answer the question at hand.
Electronic document management systems provide enhanced security: All information that is not vital to the issue under investigation is shielded from access, protecting PHI. Additionally, only the information about the member involved that is vital to answering the specific question is made available, which eliminates the potential for bias due to a preexisting condition that is unrelated to the issue.
Once files have been scanned into the system they can be tracked to identify the history of everyone (both the employee who scanned the information and all authorized users viewing the information) who have accessed the file as well as the specific information that has been released .
Electronic document management systems streamline workflow: Instead of having to pull files numerous times, they only need to be pulled once. Scanning systems have stand alone capability that doesn't need to interface with your network in order to access required information. Increased efficiency translates into a workflow that reduces the amount of time files spend active on someone's desktop and enables the individual reviewing the information to complete their evaluation in a more timely manner.
Scanned documents also eliminate the need for noisy fax machines and copiers, providing an enhanced work environment for your staff.
Electronic document management systems reduce your records management costs: Having your documents scanned into files and backed up on discs eliminates the need to maintain a physical storage area, reducing your facilities expenditures along with labor costs associated with file maintenance.
With the Presidential mandate for a comprehensive, fully functional national Electronic Health Records system by 2014 fast approaching, electronic document systems will be intrinsic to how companies store and manage information.
Fig Gungor is CEO of OneSource Document Management, a New York based company that offers a broad range of customized copy and scanning services that translate into a significant savings for insurance companies, hospitals and large medical facilities.