Paper: Why take the risk?

By Bob Larrivee posted 11-16-2012 10:51


I was just reviewing the listings on the US Department of Health and Human Services website, citing patient information breaches affecting more than 500 individuals. At the time of this writing, there were 113 reported incidents. Of these, 35% were due to paper loss or mismanagement. Given the directive to move into a more paper free environment for patient records, and given that the technology to digitize and capture paper based information – document imaging – has been around since the 1980s with greater improvements in the technology and lowered costs today, the question I have is why is this still happening? Not only can these facilities scan the paper themselves, there are service providers out there that can also do this for them in cost effective ways.

In my view, there is no longer a viable reason for organizations, especially those under mandate such as healthcare, to prolong and delay the move to convert their paper-based files into digital format. Not only is the paper costly to maintain, it is also a risk factor in relation to patient privacy. The only thing I can gather through conversations with various healthcare personnel is that reluctance abounds in the human element – I want to keep my paper because it is easier to find things – and paper conversion is not a priority when it comes to budgeting. Of course the latter of these is quickly changed when risk is present due to a breach and fines as a result of noncompliance. Human reluctance on the other hand is a bigger challenge and one that requires change management to redirect the thinking and highlight the benefits gained as a result of moving into a more digital world.

I guess my point is this, just like any other business whether it is in healthcare, transportation or any other you want to consider, there has to be a compelling reason for people to change. In this case, the regulatory mandate is apparently still not enough to have moved these 113 facilities into the digital direction. This presents the question that if regulatory change and the risk of noncompliance are not enough to make it happen what is?

If you are ready to move forward and are finding yourself stuck or unfocused and are not sure where to begin or what to do next, seek professional assistance and/or training to get you started. Be sure to investigate AIIM's Enterprise Content Management training program.

And be sure to read the AIIM Training Briefing on ECM (authored by yours truly). Click on the image to download and read. 

What say you? Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know.

Bob Larrivee, Director and Industry Advisor – AIIM
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#privacy #records #ElectronicRecordsManagement #ScanningandCapture #patient #health