Every healthcare organization that moves to an electronic health record (EHR) system must be ready with a strategy to deal with their existing paper patient records. Many healthcare organizations have moved into hybrid medical records, where data is recorded on a combination of paper, scanned and electronic forms. Electronic document management system (EDMS) technology provides a method to scan and archive paper document images, and track and store electronic documents.
Healthcare organizations struggle with challenges of managing paper-based health information in conjunction with electronic health records (EHRs).
EDMS is a set of computer programs that includes technologies for capturing paper-based documents as scanned images. EDMS embody a wide array of functionality and may be employed by a wide range of departments. Frequently, the health information management (HIM) department oversees the EDMS for the medical records. Independent EDMS may be found in areas like emergency department, radiology, PFS, and human resources.
Document imaging systems (DIMS) only capture images of forms for storage in a computer system for future retrieval. EDMS also consist of technologies for receiving and storing digital documents such as computer output laser disk (COLD) documents (electrocardiograms [EKGs], lab results, transcribed reports, voice files) generated by other internal computer systems.
The scanned data is essentially locked within the scanned document and is not available for reporting, preventive reminders, or decision support. In contrast, much of the data in EHRs, such as lab values, vital signs, and medications, are stored in a searchable database.
While you can retrieve information from scanned documents, it is a labor intensive, manual process. Reports are much easier to compile with EHRs.
EDMS functionality is frequently integrated into electronic document/content management (ED/CM) systems. These systems combine added functionality such as website management with workflow tools, standard templates and access rights.
The automated capability of EHRs makes them powerful tools for pulling together the right information at the right time in the service of patient care.
EDMS can also be integrated with workflow technology.
Workflow technology guides work on documents. It can govern when a record is ready for coding and put it into the suitable coder’s work queue. At the same time, the PFS department may access the documents for reference to generate a claims attachment.
The EDMS consist of tools that enable the scanning of paper medical records and capture of data already in an electronic format (faxes, Word documents, PDFs, and more) for scalable storage, swift retrieval, standardized workflow routing, commanding search capabilities, flexible access, archiving options and final disposition.
The EDMS system has strong security management capabilities based on customizable user permissions.
The capacity to select blocks of text to view is great, while work distribution for processing is effortless. Keep in mind that EDMS chiefly affords access to what was originally paper record content from multiple locations.
EDMS is frequently utilized as an interim technology or bridge strategy (Rhodes and Dougherty 2003) along a migration path to the EHR or as a supplemental technology to achieve a totally paperless situation.
Several EDMS rely on a comprehensive process for data storage, including metadata.
The metadata of a medical record will provide straightforward access to vital details that will help those who are searching archives. In many cases, the specific documentation for original storage protocols is a major part of what makes an EDMS so valuable to a healthcare organization.
Rhodes, H., and M., Dougherty. 2003. Practice brief: Document imaging as a bridge to the EHR. Journal of AHIMA 74(6):56A-56G.