The Challenges of Document Digitisation in Healthcare

It’s no secret that data-heavy front-line areas such as healthcare are still largely reliant on paper processes. Clinicians, administrators and data mangers typically deal with dozens of paper forms on a daily basis – with potentially millions of pages of information tied up in legacy paper records, stored either on site, in secure off-site storage facilities or both. Accessing this information can be both critical and unfortunately challenging.

Digitisation in Healthcare has become a huge priority over the last 10-15 years, but it’s a daunting task when considering the complexity of clinical workflows, and the myriad of existing systems with often overlapping functionality. This is not to mention the importance of critical data wrapped up in legacy paper records, which needs to be carefully considered when exploring digitisation projects in healthcare.

Although healthcare providers are encouraged to scan paper records to digital systems, in many cases the systems in question are not optimal for practitioners to quickly find the specific information they are looking for. Network shared drives and complex, multi-layered ERP systems are typical candidates – but our product development team’s direct work with clinicians and admins in NHS Foundations Trusts has given us insight into the frustration that practitioners and administrators are suffering due to the time required to properly scan and file these records, and locate them quickly.

Many of the solutions found in this arena also require a lot of input from end users to design and implement, and can be extremely unintuitive and clunky to use – requiring clinical professionals to undergo lengthy (and honestly, boring) adoption training.

The bottom line is, healthcare practitioners simply don’t have the time to adapt to complicated new systems while continuing to deliver good quality care.

Despite a push towards digitisation, many healthcare practitioners are finding it more difficult today to find the information they are looking for.

Solving the Problem

We feel the biggest problem to address is ease of adoption. If it’s not easy for practitioners to find the specific documents they need, they would honestly rather use paper, and who can blame them! If implementation and adoption is complicated and overly technical, practitioners would rather continue with what they have and focus their efforts on improving front line care – and rightly they should. If the solution is too complex and expensive, the effort to go paperless simply isn’t justified.

Our focus at FileHound is to offer simple yet powerful solution to these challenges, which can give invaluable time back to practitioners by significantly reducing their existing administrative overhead when it comes to effective retention and retrieval of important documents.

FileHound’s fast, powerful search features save clinicians valuable time
Auto-Classification and Indexing

It starts with automated classification and indexing. Imagine a scanned PDF of a patient record. Depending on the patient, this could reach hundreds of pages. Without proper indexing, it’s much easier for a clinician to fan through a paper file for the information they need vs. scrolling through a on a screen. FileHound enables low-touch indexing via our auto-classification. Machine learning is used to assign a ‘type’ to each page of the record, even when the content is highly variable, and SmartCapture automated indexing can locate and extract key information such as patient numbers, dates and diagnoses and apply it as indexing data.

Content-Aware Search

When it comes to saving time and reducing administrative overhead, our ‘content-aware’ search feature can eliminate hours of time per week spent locating important information among thousands or even millions of documents. OCR is used to search the entire content of all documents in the system when searching for any keyword, patient name, or reference number. Finding the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack’ has never been easier.

A simple, achievable step towards digitisation

By offering a low complexity, cost effective, yet powerful solution for the secure retention and retrieval of important clinical documents, FileHound enables clinical teams to take the first, simple step towards digitisation without the overwhelming and frustrating technical ‘hump’ which needs to be overcome with more complex alternative solutions. 

FileHound for healthcare offers a flexible solution with a low-impact route to adoption, allowing healthcare professionals to focus on what they do best.

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