Dr. Rose Kung

"For more than three years we have enjoyed the luxury of having an office with no filing cabinets bulging with patient charts, files and documents. Yet we still have all patient information at our fingertips – or more accurately, at just a few clicks of our computer mouse.” – Dr. Rose Kung 

The Headache

Electronic Medical RecordsI operate a busy ob/gyn practice at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. As my practice grew, the storage and retrieval of patient charts along with all the associated examination documents became a burdensome task, not to mention the cost of filing cabinets, file folders and my assistant’s time taken to access and file the relevant material for each patient’s visit.

Also, it was not uncommon for an occasional document to be misplaced or misfiled, resulting in additional time being needed to locate the missing material.

Since we were already using computers in the office to handle such administrative tasks as our billing procedures I began to consider whether a computer could also be used to speed up the process of storing, accessing and archiving all data in our patient files. ... Thus, we were introduced to A&L’s Document Console.

The A&L Solution

It has since proven to be a good decision. Our office efficiency has improved and there have been no adverse effects on patient care. In addition, I am happy to say that a further important benefit has been an improvement financially. For the number of patients I service, I would need two large filing cabinets to store their charts and documents in the traditional manner. With the document imaging system I have no need for filing cabinets. I also save costly floor space. Likewise, there are no hanging files or file folders to purchase. The cost saving thus realized paid for the A&L Document Console software.

I can understand a physician’s reluctance to destroy hard copy patient documents. I also experienced this trepidation. But over a period of time, the reliability of the system convinced me that it was no longer necessary to save them. After all, this would defeat the purpose of having the system in the first place. Of course, our database is backed up every day by the hospital’s Information Technology department; so if something does happen to our computer system we always have a copy of our files from which the database can be easily recreated. Now our hard copy documents are regularly sent for shredding every two weeks or so...

Click to view our Web-based Document ConsoleSecurity of patient information is not an issue since password protection is provided by the system. Also, different types of access capabilities can be assigned to staff at the time their passwords are established.

Another advantage the system provides is the ability to send copies of patient documents to another physician anywhere in the world, directly from my computer, as long as that physician has the capability to receive information electronically. This can be done by fax or by an e-mail attachment and avoids the necessity of having to make a hard copy of a document as well as the expense incurred in mailing it. In the same manner, electronic documents can be received from other sources and easily attached to a patient’s file in my database.

 

The Conclusion

All in all we find the convenience and time saved by using this system to be a great advantage to our office operations. It also presents an efficient way to archive inactive patient files, and in my type of practice they are in the majority. After having used this system for over three years now, I would not want to return to the manual method for storing patient charts and files.

 

Subtopics: Document Console Overview | Fact Sheet | System Requirements | Case Study