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2 min read

Logical or Not? Automation of Dr. McCoy’s Charts

The word automation is a problem. It’s a tin robot with a light-bulb nose, taking over the good-paying job that is no more.

As Dr. McCoy told a worried Capt. Kirk in The Ultimate Computer, “We’re all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine. When it comes to your job, that’s different.”

If only Starfleet’s finest officer had read the white paper recently released by EHR Intelligence. It makes a strong case for automation – but only of certain tasks. “Automated solutions are geared toward back-office, batch-oriented, repetitive, mission-critical processes.”

The study isn’t specifically aimed toward healthcare. It’s meant to cover IT across industries, especially vendors and client billing. And while we disagree (pretty strongly) about its offered solution, for chart retrieval the paper’s analysis is spot on.

Here’s a summary and our take on it in relation to how this translates to health systems and health plans:

Secure Information Exchange: Benefits of Automation points out that organizations install expensive and expansive suites of software, for electronic health records, for example.

“These enterprise applications, however, do not address document delivery,” such as chart retrieval. Even worse, “Many companies still rely on paper-based or general purpose facsimile technologies.”

Problems Automation Could Solve

  • Manual processes are costly. “100,000 mailed documents costs an organization $120,000 or more.”
  • Manual = slow. What’s your backlog?
  • No surprise, but mail delivery is also slow.
  • “Faxes may inadvertently be sent to the wrong recipient or wrong destination number.” Breaches, anyone
  • Fax systems just can’t do it. “They are not designed to handle the critical, repetitive volume.
  • “Nor are they designed to integrate easily with host applications.
  • As a result, you’ll end up with a lot of manual intervention, taking you back to square one.

The general-industry paper was prepared by OpenText Corp., a Canadian company that provides information software to a range of industries, including healthcare. It argues that “automated electronic document delivery is merging as a key enabling technology for the next generation of digital document delivery strategies.”

By definition, automating chart retrieval streamlines the process, bumping it into real-time activity. It reduces cost and is more secure.

Our Conclusion

Kudos to OpenText for an outstanding paper, but it is disappointing to see the recommendation for a special high volume “production fax server” as a solution. We respectfully, of course, disagree with that conclusion.

Faxing is yesterday’s technology and, as the paper points out, “Companies should look for solutions that use the latest advances in technology to ensure that the document delivery solution they implement today will handle the document demands of tomorrow.”

We believe those solutions are ones that are truly automated, digital, and require no manual interaction.

Incidentally, the talking computer that threatened Capt. Kirk’s job? It released control of the starship after he made it go crazy. Call it an Enterprise solution?

Even so, the captain concluded, “Only a fool would stand in the way of progress.”

Learn more about how Moxe’s automated chart retrieval solutions improve patient care, ensure proper reimbursements, and enhance compliance for health systems.