Typical Motivation for Starting Medical Records Imaging

Do you spend too much time retrieving charts? Do some of your patient records get lost? Files stored in a central location and that are reviewed periodically have a great chance of being mis-filed or never refilled. The result is that it takes a great amount of time to find such patient files.

Do you need more immediate access to medical files? Is the amount of time it takes to retrieve a chart from the file room simply too long? Do you need instant access to the files? Is immediate patient service becoming extremely important?

doctor-computer-4Are you running out of space for the hard copy charts? Are you looking at the costs of special filing systems, such as rolling files? Are you looking at the costs of acquiring more office space for chart storage?

Do you feel a need to reduce your overall costs associated with storing, retrieving, refilling and the safety and security of your documents?

Are your files safe in their current storage location? Do your current storage methods comply with the various privacy laws such as HIPAA or GLB or Facta?

If you had a disaster such as a hurricane, flood or fire, are your current documents protected?

Lastly, it is mandated that patient records be scanned and available electronically.

Is it cheaper to store your medical records or have them scanned?

If you retrieve patient records periodically, then consider scanning versus off-site storage.  Suppose it costs $200 to scan a box of 100 charts.  Then the cost to scan a chart is roughly $2.00.  If you see the patient every year, you are going to need to retrieve the chart annually.  Suppose the cost to retrieve the medical file is between $5 and $15 each time.  You can see, it is plainly cheaper to scan then store. 

If you would like to know how to scan the medical records, the entire process is quite simple. However, you need to follow the instructions step by step to manage everything properly. Document imaging is an optimal way to translate, copy, and preserve charts in a digital format. The scanned documents can be accessed automatically, easily and quickly. Just follow some simple steps and try to avoid obvious mistakes to get the job done.

Get charts ready

Collect all the documents you want to scan. If the documents are old or damaged, it is imperative to repair them before scanning. Check the documents exclusively to make sure that there are no torn edges, wrinkles, and smudged ink. Remove paper clips and staples.  If the charts have post it notes or some other small pages, you may want to tape it to a clean sheet of paper.  Test the taped document to make sure it goes easily through the scanner.

Check your scanner or choose a scanning program

Clean a scanner properly before you get started. Clean the dust, fingerprints, and ink, from scanner beds. Some scanners offer the ability to fax and copy. Choose the right command/button to scan documents.

Choose a location to save scanned documents

When you are scanning documents, one important step of this process is to save the documents. Some scanners allow the users to scan the document directly to email or a file. You can directly save the scanned document in your computer. Select a folder location so that the documents can be found and organized as required.

Feed the documents into the scanner

Most scanners have automatic document feeders.  However, pay close attention if the documents are two sided.  This can be quite confusing.  Test a few two sided documents to make sure you understand the procedure you must follow.  Also in some cases the file to be scanned is too big to put into the document feeder.  Test the procedure so that you are competent in feeding large files into the scanner so they end up in one electronic file.

File Format Matters

When scanning documents you need to choose a file format. PDF, JPEG and TIFF are three common formats used most. JPEGs are comparatively smaller files and can be shared through email. On the other hand, TIFFs are best suited to make digital copies of historical documents. Make sure that you are able to see the files scanned in your computer. If the documents are not readable, adjust the scan quality by increasing the dots per inch (dpi).

It has become necessary for every clinic, hospital and medical practice to maintain and preserve records of every patient in a safe and reliable manner. They should have documents related to patient’s evolution, medical check-ups, and treatment, etc. These records should be preserved for at least 10 years. The best way to deal with loads of medical records, and medical charts, etc. is to employ current medical records scanning methods so that documents can be saved in the form of computer files. This will help in indexing the records resulting in quick retrieval and safety.

When it comes to the price of patient records scanning, it depends on a number of simple factors.

  • Are there documents in the file printed on both sides
  • Are there unusual documents in the file such as
    • Sticky notes
    • EKG charts
    • XRAYS
  • Are the documents stapled, clipped or bound together
  • How many pages are there in the charts

Are the electronic patients files going to be indexed. Invite the medical document scanning companies you chose to come and examine your patient medical charts in order to get an accurate cost of scanning.