The success of any system in any industry is dependent on the quality of the critical information required to get the most out of the investment you have made in that system.  Nowhere is this more important than in the healthcare field as hospitals, clinics, physicians and associated service providers are implementing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems.

Many institutions implementing these systems choose to set up an in-house scanning and indexing capability to transform legacy paper-based patient charts into digital images with related metadata that can be imported into the EMR or EHR system.  While this does work in some cases, most hospitals and practices elect to outsource this critical import process to service providers that understand the importance of the task and have the capabilities to do the abstraction of the discrete medical data from paper charts and populate the client’s NextGen EHR system.

NextGen is a significant investment and being able to scan documents and abstract this information is critical when considering the conversion of patient chart information currently sitting in file cabinets or along the wall on an open shelving system.  This is not a task that should be relegated to part-time employees, or for fill-in work when you are not busy (those days are gone forever), or with temporary employees that have no allegiance to your hospital or practice.

Another major reason for abstraction driven scanning services is to help organizations pass an audit and qualify for meaningful use funding available through the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Why might you consider outsourcing the scanning and abstraction to a qualified service provider?

The average chart abstraction will take approximately 30 minutes.  Medically trained personnel should be doing this work.  Medical information is located in several different sections of the chart and can have different terminology and meanings.  Each document must be reviewed to capture all the critical information and put it in the right place in the NextGen abstraction template.

Medications present unique challenges.  Dates, dosage, interactions, history and authorized signatures must be located and documented to assure a precise medical history of these transactions.

The NextGen chart abstraction template allows the practice to enter all the information to achieve meaningful use.  But it is time consuming and challenging to do it the right way when your employees are trying to care for patients and run an efficient and profitable healthcare business.

Putting the discussion in dollars and cents, that everyone understands, let’s assume your practice sees 50 patients a day.  This would require 25 hours to abstract clinical data from current paper-based patient charts.  This would be a great challenge for any practice.  Efficiency is even slower as you go-live with your NextGen system.  Most practices see a loss in revenue as the new systems come online as employees get familiar with them and struggle to get all patient information into them in a timely manner.

Imagine outsourcing the patient chart scanning and critical data abstraction to a certified NextGen business partner who can to this work with qualified medical personnel and enter the information into your NextGen system in real-time.

You simply let the provider know which patients will be seen today, this week or this month, and they will pull the charts, prepare them for scanning, scan to a quality image, classify the documents based on the document categories and types selected for the practice and perform the abstraction process based on your requirements directly into your NextGen EHR system.

When the patient arrives, everything the doctor needs is available in your NextGen system.  The outsourced solution is the effortless way to convert your patient charts with little or no involvement from your office staff and with a high degree of acceptance and usage by the doctors.

CTI is an authorized NextGen business partner that specializes in document conversion services and abstraction services to help organizations meet meaningful use objectives and maximize their investment in their NextGen EHR system.