Digitize Documents, Simplify Workflow
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Division of Health and Environmental Laboratories (DHEL) performs more than 1 million chemical and microbiological tests each year. When a sample and submission form is received, the sample is tagged and sent to the laboratory while the submission form is sent to the data entry department, where it is manually entered into the laboratory management software system and then filed. In the laboratory, technicians printed two copies of the results report, sent one to the client, and filed the other in an archive. Occasionally, the staff would need to retrieve the original form to verify test requests or sample data.
The laboratory processes more than 300,000 samples a year. Approximately half of the samples contain confidential patient information, which makes the laboratory subject to the privacy and access requirements defined by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Only six months of laboratory records could be stored in the administration office at one time. Older records had to be stored on a different floor on-site and in an off-site warehouse. As with any paper-based system, documents were misfiled or lost, and retrieving a document could be a lengthy process.
The laboratory director wanted to automate DHEL’s workflow, and during his search, he discovered DocuWare, an electronic document management system. DocuWare put the director in touch with Word-Tech Business Systems, an authorized partner that sold and installed the DocuWare solution.
Today, the laboratory captures electronic documents for each sample, which translates to 600,000 images a year, and most paper records are kept for only six months before being destroyed. All laboratory employees have access to DocuWare. Submission forms are now scanned and automatically indexed in DocuWare, using OCR (optical character recognition) technology. As test result reports are generated by the mainframe, DocuWare automatically stores them in the electronic file cabinet. One copy of the laboratory report is still printed and sent to the client. The solution has since expanded and is now used to capture and store quality assurance documentation and calibration testing for some of the laboratory’s instrumentation.