Providers score low for scanning

Friday, August 31, 2007

Scanning paper documents into a digital format can save providers time, effort and money, yet most companies are not doing it. Memphis, Tenn.-based RemitDATA CEO and founder Bently Goodwin says there are various reasons for the reluctance, including concerns about cost and the inconvenience associated with launching a new system. He recently took some time to explain the process.
HME News: On a scale of one to 10, how are providers doing when it comes to document scanning?
Bently Goodwin: I think that the problem is not with those who are currently doing it, but with those who are not. I would say only 30% are actually doing it, so I would give the industry, as a whole, a three.
hme: Where are providers most deficient?
Goodwin: For providers not scanning, they need to get on the ball or they are going to be too inefficient to stay in business during this period of falling reimbursements. For providers who are already scanning but not seeing the efficiencies, I believe that they are likely missing the mark because of implementing a plan that is either too complex or too simplistic. It is important to make sure that your implementation is well planned out so that you find a happy medium between being able to file the most numerous documents away very quickly and being able to retrieve the most needed documents very quickly.
hme: Are there misconceptions that you see throughout the provider community?
Goodwin: There are several. Among them: 'I cannot afford it' and 'It will take too long to implement and see the results.' Most of our customers who do a good job planning see benefits within days of beginning to scan documents and are quickly re-deploying personnel to other tasks as they reap these efficiencies.
hme: If you could give a provider only one piece of advice about document scanning, what would it be and why?
Goodwin: Plan your implementation well. A system with the best features and given to you for free will cost you thousands in lost productivity if you don't carefully plan the most efficient way to index each of your documents so that you can store and retrieve them as quickly as possible.
hme: What traits do the most successful providers share?
Goodwin: The most successful providers are embracing new technologies that enable them to do more work in a day with the same or fewer people. Specific to document imaging, the most successful providers are taking the time needed to properly plan the implementation of their system.