10 Ways Document Viewing and Conversion Technologies Improve Healthcare IT Efficiency

Guest post by Simon Wieczner, president and CEO of Snowbound Software.

It’s rare to find an organization where document management doesn’t play a major role in day-to-day operations, and healthcare is no exception. Advancements in patient record technology have revolutionized how healthcare systems operate and have greatly improved patient information sharing between different physicians, departments and even disparate organizations.

With recent HIPAA regulations and the impending Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) mandates, which require electronic health records (EHR) adoption by 2015, the focus on technology in the healthcare space will only get stronger in the coming months, as more and more organizations put measures in place to achieve compliance.

Currently, typical phases of the document lifecycle (capturing, viewing, processing and archiving) carry significant costs in terms of both time and software investment. Integrating powerful document viewing and conversion technologies can help healthcare organizations avoid these costs and streamline every phase of the document lifecycle.

And because these technologies can be easily integrated into existing electronic content management systems, companies can enjoy these workflow improvements without investing in additional infrastructure. Below are just 10 of the ways that viewing and conversion solutions can improve workflow efficiency for healthcare IT.

From the E.R. to the pharmacy, view any document you need: Successfully viewing the myriad different file types generated in the healthcare setting can be challenging to say the least. Sophisticated document viewing solutions address this challenge by supporting and providing access to virtually any document or image format (Word, Excel, DICOM, PDF, AFP, TIFF, JPEG, PNG and many more) and can be utilized on a variety of platforms (HTML5 web viewer, Windows .NET, and Java). 

Eliminate deliverability issues because of platform restrictions: Organizations can reduce installation issues and support costs by avoiding the need to download and install cumbersome clients with a browser-based, HTML5 document viewer. Making documents and images viewable via any web browser regardless of operating system allows for seamless cross-platform support and trouble-free processing.

Get only what you Need: Scrolling through large documents downloaded from a remote server can slow down workflow and impede efficiency. Page on Demand document viewing technology eliminates these issues, equipping web viewers with the ability to download only the relevant portions of a document within seconds. A doctor can download notes from a visit when you had the flu in 2001, instead of your entire medical chart from 2000-2013. 

Update and add forms: Page manipulation support makes it easier for users to create and modify server-based documents from the client. Users across an enterprise can add, delete, and move pages—all while preserving the original files and saving newly created documents back to a repository or forwarding them along as part of the workflow process.

Leave your two cents: The typical collaboration process of authoring, sharing, reviewing, editing and approving documents can be time-consuming and tedious. With annotation capabilities, users can expedite this process by adding or removing notes and mark-ups as the document moves across the enterprise. A variety of annotation types (rubber stamps, sticky notes, etc.) make this communication and collaboration easy.

Redact content securely: It’s important for an organization to share information while also protecting sensitive content based on security standards and user permissions. Redaction technologies enable users to redact confidential data, like credit card information and social security numbers, to ensure sensitive document data is removed before it changes hands throughout the organization. 

Search documents quickly: The ability to search text is essential for quickly accessing critical information and speeding up the workflow process. A server-based search provides enterprises with powerful capabilities, allowing users to efficiently navigate through text-based documents (Microsoft Office, PDF, AFP, and PCL) displaying only pages with matching results. For example, users can easily scan for any instance when a certain drug was used or be able to check if a patient has ever received a certain type of vaccine. This cuts down on time wasted sorting through multiple files, or worse, missing an important document entirely.

Save to a wide variety of formats: From dentists to primary care to physical therapy, total healthcare incorporates a variety of disparate offices, all of which store documents in a diverse range of file formats. It’s important for users to not only be able to view numerous file types, but also be able to convert and save files to a variety of mission-critical output formats like JPEG, TIFF, PDF, PNG, and AFP.

High-speed image and document conversion: While a powerful viewing solution can often satisfy document management requirements, sometimes batch conversion of files is needed when an organization moves to a new document storage system. For companies with large repositories, this can often be an expensive and tricky process. A reliable, high-speed image and document conversion solution allows an organization to safely convert and archive millions of files to a specified output like TIFF or PDF. 

Easily retrieve archival documents and images: Many organizations have large archives of legacy documents (like AFP, PCL, or proprietary TIFF) from old content systems that they have since jettisoned. The files still contain critical information, but unfortunately often cannot be read with standard office document software. With the right viewing or conversion technology, an organization can easily view the legacy format or convert it to a more modern format like PDF. This allows users to easily keep X-Rays and medical notes all in one easy to access place.

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