The Role of Document Management Systems in the Healthcare Industry


Brandon Harris

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: August 25, 2020

Hospitals, clinics, and even private practices have to manage massive amounts of medical records, billing information, and related paperwork every day. Doctors are required to maintain their patient’s medical records and information, including diseased patient details for at least 7 years after the date of the last visit of the patient. Almost all healthcare facilities have similar policies, and they are mandated by the law to follow them. In short, there is a huge amount of paper records at any given time in a healthcare center.

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This is the part where an integrated document management system comes into the picture. Such a system can ease the burden on the records department of all large and small hospitals and associated facilities. Let us check out the important benefits of implementing such a system in the healthcare industry,


How Document Management Systems plays a vital role in the healthcare industry

1. Cost Savings

Cost savings are one of the main benefits of using a document management system (DMS) in the healthcare industry. It is possible to dramatically reduce costs in the following ways,

  • Reduction in Materials and Equipment

Electronic record keeping will ensure that your facility will buy less paper, cartridges, and repair or replace fewer printers, fax machines, and photocopiers. Apart from the purchase price, all of these machines also require regular maintenance and run on electricity. These translate into hidden costs that have to be paid every month.  

  • Reduced Storage Needs

Larger hospitals have to hand over complete floors to the record-keeping and archives department. This can lead to less space for medical treatment and other activities that constitute the core functions of the facility. However, digitizing all patient records will allow you to store critical patient files on on-site servers that require much less space. 

Alternatively, switching to a cloud-based data storage solution will mean that there would be no reason to pay for and maintain costly servers. Apart from that, cloud storage doesn’t take any space at all, so you will be able to free up all of the facility’s space to offer more and better services.

Also, Read: Download 12 Key Business Documents Template

  • Fewer Staffing Costs

Switching to a paperless system will automatically lead to a substantial reduction in clerical staff. There won’t be any need for employees to create or retrieve physical records since all relevant information will become accessible instantaneously. 

  • No Retrieval Fees

If your facility uses filing services, you will have to pay a certain amount every time you either request or return a paper record. However, digitizing the whole system platform will allow you to search the hospital’s extensive database without the need of going through a middleman.

2. Faster Processing Time 

A big issue with paper-based records is that they are primarily physical documents, and, as such, they have to be carried by hand from the archives to the relevant department. This is a tedious and cumbersome process that can often take hours, if not more, for really large facilities. However, a digitized DMS will enable you to retrieve important records in a matter of seconds.

Better still, many departments located in different parts of the same facility can also access the same record at the same time. This will eliminate the need to photocopy the files while seamlessly updating payment and billing information as well as the medical data of the patient in real-time.

There also exist digital platforms that now offer real-time collaboration. This way, users can make changes to individual records without the need for creating incompatible edits. In the long run, it will lead to far fewer errors and redundancies.

3. It Increases Productivity

With an advanced DMS, it is possible to substantially reduce the time to access multiple patient files by just typing in the relevant search term. Every electronic document is given its own unique identifier that can be used as a means to quickly search for that particular document. In short, physicians and hospital administrators will be able to search a patient’s name and retrieve their entire medical history and related record in mere seconds. This will give them plenty of time for value-added activities.

4. It Will Eliminate Human Error

It is almost impossible to avoid mistakes when dealing with massive amounts of paper documents. It leads to the cluttering of the workplace. Ultimately, clutter increases the chance of losing or misplacing critically important files and other documentation. 

A digitized electronic DMS will significantly aid in the reduction of adverse drug events, including improper dosage of medications or wrong treatments. This will help increase patient safety and also protect physicians from being subjected to regulatory and legal sanctions.

5. Increases Security by Creating Visible Audit Trails

An audit trail will show the username, time, and date for each activity that has taken place within a patient’s record file. This will allow the administrators to monitor all record creation and retrieval activities and thereby ensure the security and integrity of the records. 

Once executed correctly, the DMS process will ensure that all proper business practices have been adequately followed. It will also ensure that the content has been properly captured, managed, stored, and disposed of at the appropriate time. 

6. It Helps to Maintain Regulatory Compliance

The safety and security of patient data is a critical regulatory requirement. Many laws have been created that mandate the privacy and security of protected health information. In this case, a digitized patent DMS offers the seamless conversion of all paperwork into electronic files that can be used to control information access . At the same time, it will also increase the confidentiality of patient data. 

7. It Leads to Healthier Patients

Implementing a state-of-the-art document management system offers all of the above advantages to streamline services and increase productivity. In a nutshell, the lesser the amount of time and money spent on administrative paperwork, the more resources will be available to the staff. This will mean that they will devote much more time and effort to the services that really add value by providing superior healthcare.

In the long run, your new DMS system will result in happier and healthier patients.

Brandon Harris is the vice president of Smooth Solutions Inc. that was founded by his father Michael Harris, who has been a pioneer in document scanning industry for over 35 years. They are experts in providing Medical Records Scanning and Document Digitization.

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