Electronic Document Management Saves Kaiser Permanente From An Avalanche Of Paper
HMO implements electronic document management system that uses high-speed Panasonic production scanners to bring three million patient medical records online.
At Kaiser Permanente of Ohio, patient paperwork had reached large proportions. The health maintenance organization (HMO) was buried by paper and had costly manual record-keeping expenses.
Buried In Medical Paperwork
Kaiser manages millions of patient medical records, generating thousands more every day. Much of the record-keeping and billing associated with this volume had been done manually. Now, Kaiser uses an electronic document management (EDM) system.
The new system is designed to provide healthcare professionals with immediate access to patient medical records, regardless of where the information is generated, stored or transported. The system includes high-speed Panasonic production scanners, Sequoia Software's MedStar program and the organization's mainframe-based electronic databases. Kaiser's new patient medical record system eliminates many expensive and time-consuming tasks such as: copying, faxing, and filing patient records.
EDM System Wins Acclaim
Kaiser was recently honored with the Nicholas E. Davis Award of Excellence. This award was presented by the Computer-Based Record Institute, a non-profit organization promoting the implementation of computer-based patient record systems.
According to Dr. Allan Khoury, associate medical director of Kaiser Permanente, "Computer-based patient medical record systems can improve the quality of care delivered to our members and reduce administrative costs." Khoury adds that Kaiser's EDM system "saves time for both doctors and patients" and is a fundamental element in Kaiser's efforts to deliver "quality care and service at an affordable price."
Medstar is a distributed client/server document management software application. The Medstar software was adapted, so that clinicians could create a medical record electronically without having to change the way they gather information. The system also permits the addition of as many clients, servers, and Panasonic scanners and other peripherals as are required.
Forms Include Patient ID Bar Codes
Doctors no longer have to search for paper-based patient medical records or charts when seeing a patient. All information is accessed electronically. When a patient arrives for an appointment, Kaiser's mainframe-based registration system forwards a data packet that includes demographic and clinical information on the patient. This triggers the system to print a set of standard clinical forms, which will be used to record the patient visit. Each clinical form contains patient ID bar codes. Also printed is a summary medical record.
During the examination, medical personnel record new data with a pen and a chart. Following the patient visit, the record is scanned by a Panasonic scanner. Panasonic offers several different application-specific models employed for the task of transforming manual records to digital form. Once scanned, the records are automatically indexed, then archived on the patient's "home-site" server. Kaiser's system can route electronic copies of records, or parts of records to other departments such as billing, speeding up this vital process. Records are stored, but can be retrieved instantly by an authorized user at any of 12 Kaiser facilities.
Three Million Records Are Online
Hundreds of authorized users retrieve the medical records of 200,000 patients gathered during Kaiser's 1 million annual visits. There are also 5,000 new encounters generating 40,000 new patient medical records daily. In total, 3 million records are currently online, all accessible from the 700 PCs networked to the system. With Panasonic scanners as an integral part of its document management, Kaiser is providing its healthcare practitioners with tools to improve the quality and quantity of care being delivered - at a diminishing cost.