As a healthcare professional, you probably understand the importance of managing paperwork and patient documents.
You also know how challenging this ongoing endeavor can be. It’s a daily responsibility that can quickly take up your valuable time — time that could be spent in patient care.
It’s time-consuming, but a necessary part of the job.
Manually filling in paperwork, double-checking compliance rules, and being incredibly detailed in your communications.
Fortunately, there’s a better way…
By including healthcare document management as part of your operational workflow, you’re overcoming a lot of these issues.
Doing so, you benefit from safely handling sensitive information on autopilot. While at the same time, being able to access your documents in one centralized place.
To help you make the most of healthcare document management, we’ll be looking into some of the best practices when using a document management system.
While staying HIPAA compliant in your communications and not having to worry about storing documents securely at scale.
Whether you work with PDFs, traditional paperwork, or a mix of both, a document management system can greatly benefit your day-to-day operations.
And below, we’ll show you everything you need to know about using document management software as a healthcare professional.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Healthcare Document Management Overview And What You Need to Know
- Top 6 Best Document Management Practices for Healthcare Professionals
Healthcare Document Management Overview And What You Need to Know
First, what is a document management system, exactly?
A document management system (DMS) is an electronic system that can help you efficiently store, manage, and view your documents. It stores the information in a database for easy retrieval and indexing.
With the right document management software, you automate parts (if not the whole thing) of the document creation lifecycle. From document generation and document creation lifecycle to secure storage.
This makes it easier to find, manage, and share electronic documents across the enterprise.
A DMS also effectively reduces the paperwork volume that a hospital uses for its document management needs.
With both doctors and patients using your hospital’s DMS, you have greater control over patient data at scale. Your DMS may also enable you to collect better quality data for improved outcomes measures.
Read on to learn how a hospital or medical organization can use a document management system to improve its operations.
Healthcare document management benefits
But first, a few other reasons why your hospital might benefit from a good document management system may include:
- Centralized documents: Providing a centralized location for all documents in the hospital makes operations easier for everyone, from the triage to the doctor. Companies use electronic document and records management systems (EDRMS) to centralize documents and securely manage business records as well as customer communications. See our full guide to switching to an electronic document record management system for a more detailed overview of this.
- Consistent care: Because everything is stored in a central location, workers from every department within the organization will have the same information, thus ensuring consistent healthcare.
- Improved efficiency: With everyone in your hospital using the same DMS, there’s no need to manually access multiple databases or different platforms.
- Reduced risk: Electronic records are more secure than paper records, so you can reduce risk by digitizing your documents into an electronic format. Instead of password protecting documents manually, everything would be encrypted in one place on the cloud. To make things more secure, you can set simply up user permissions and different access settings.
- Automated workflow: With document management systems, workflows are automated. Meaning, manual tasks like sending faxes or printing labels are automated with just a few clicks of the mouse.
- Streamlined billing: For many patients, billing is the most worrisome aspect of healthcare. With a DMS, the billing process is far more efficient and streamlined for greater convenience.
With a hospital’s DMS, patients won’t have to visit multiple locations in order to get this information; they can simply log into their account at any time.
This will also create a more streamlined experience for the patients. This way, it’s much easier for a doctor to repeat information a different doctor told the patient concerning their condition.
Compared to the alternative of them having to find the other doctor and relaying the information manually.
The hospital could also set up parameters within the DMS that would allow only certain doctors to view certain types of records, which would help ensure patient privacy when needed.
This is what’s known as user access and permission settings in a document management system and it’s a pretty important feature. For more info on that, see our full guide to user roles and permissions.
Long story short is that you can add employees with the right role, access, and permissions with regard to what they can do in the document management system.
So, not everyone will be able to edit or delete documents, based on their access.
Top 6 Best Document Management Practices for Healthcare Professionals
Effective document management in the healthcare industry is more than simply improving the storage of paperwork.
It’s important to make sure that you pay close attention to any and all changes to this documentation, including their creation, editing, and distribution.
Below, you will find 6 of the best practices for DMS that every healthcare provider should follow.
If you’re not already employing these practices, you should do all that you can to start doing so right away.
The sooner you implement them, the sooner you can rest easy knowing that you’re compliant in the necessary areas.
In no order, the best practices for using a medical document management software include:
- Establishing proper MDS control protocols.
- Creating document tracking for clear communication.
- Showing industry-standard compliance (HIPAA, FINRA risk management, etc.).
- Making necessary requirement changes and updating organization guidelines as needed.
- Easy and convenient online collaboration.
- Appropriate systems integration, depending on your current software and tech stack.
Now, let’s take a look at each step in detail.