Smart hospitals and medical facility managers already know how to capture savings in health information management by eliminating unnecessary records and optimizing storage space. What most don’t know is that savings in health information management can be achieved through methods beyond destruction and space optimization. Hospitals and other medical facilities can find savings opportunities through revitalizing the processes used to handle the records that can’t just be eliminated or offloaded to a records custodian.
These opportunities exist because maintaining records, when done correctly, involves much more than just storage. Good records custodianship calls for multiple processes, from scanning to fulfilling information requests. Optimizing or outsourcing certain aspects of these processes can allow hospitals and medical facilities to achieve real savings over time.
Have You Optimized Your Scanning Process?
Hospitals and medical facilities dealing with large sets of paper records are all but required to adopt a scanning process. Optimizing this process can lead to immediate savings. In the case of scanning paper medical records, this usually means scanning for efficiency over volume.
One of the most common mistakes seen in medical records management is scanning all records within a given record set without first considering what records need to be scanned. Consider: Records requests almost always take place within the first few years of the life of the record, while the likelihood of a request usually decreases steadily over the life of a record.
This means that before engaging in any scanning project, hospitals and medical professionals can optimize scanning by selecting records that will need to be accessed to fulfill requests and storing – but not scanning – records that won’t likely be needed.
Of course, all records that haven’t met retention need to be stored until they do. But by only storing and not scanning older or less-likely-to-be-accessed records, hospitals and facilities can avoid unnecessarily inflated scanning expenses.
In the case of a patient needing access to such records, medical facilities and hospitals can count on a scan-on-demand service that allows for savings on scanning services without sacrificing patients’ ability to access their records quickly and conveniently.
Increase Efficiency Through Outsourcing
Optimizing scanning is one thing, but for hospitals and medical facilities that are serious about savings, outsourcing scanning services entirely is an option. Scanning is a time-consuming process that distracts employees from tasks that more directly affect patient outcomes.
Outsourcing scanning promotes efficiency by allowing experts to handle the optimization process described above, along with the implementation of a scan-on-demand service for applicable records. It’s likely that the cost of keeping scanning responsibilities in-house is greater than the cost of outsourcing, due to lost employee productivity alone. Hospital employees have greater responsibility than records management tasks –those should be left to the professionals, so employees can focus on patient care and outcomes.
Outsourcing processes like scanning comes with some added benefits, too: When partnering with a records custodian to manage records management processes like scanning, your hospital or medical facility can count on both consistent service and the ability to interface directly with experienced professionals on complex subjects like retention law.
Outsourcing Requests of Information
Scanning isn’t the only service that should be at least eligible for outsourcing. Another sound means of achieving savings in HIM is to outsource the fulfillment of records requests.
The process required to produce requested records is naturally inefficient: It can’t be scheduled or planned for, and hospitals can’t charge enough to recoup the expenses required to offer such a service.
Regardless, patients need access to their records, and granting that access quickly and consistently is both the ethically and legally responsible thing to do. Outsourcing ROI presents the same opportunities for savings as outsourcing scanning responsibilities. By partnering with a professional medical records custodian, a hospital or medical practice can offload the expense and hassle of fulfilling records request and focus on patient outcomes, keeping patient’s medical data available to them while capturing new savings over time.
Outsourcing information requests to a professional records custodian makes sense, for reasons of efficiency but also to better facilitate an optimized scanning process. Records custodians at Cariend can utilize Scan-on-demand service to optimize the scanning process and effectively fulfill patient requests simultaneously, while keeping patients in touch with their medical records when they need them.
These are a few ways that optimizing and outsourcing records management processes can lead to increased savings in health information management. By partnering with professionals like the team at Cariend, your hospital or medical facility can explore options for enacting similar strategies to increase employee efficiency and savings over time. Contact Cariend today to get started.