For healthcare organizations such as hospitals, clinics, and even large government organizations such as HHS, OCR is a critical tool that can save time and labor costs.
In this post, we’ll examine healthcare-related OCR and healthcare software, including common types of solutions, how healthcare OCR differs from OCR used in other industries, and more.
Healthcare, Medical, and HHS OCR and Software Solutions: A Guide
Healthcare is an industry that involves a great deal of paperwork and documentation, including:
- Patient health records
- Consent forms
- Intake forms
- Insurance paperwork
- Internal and external communications
Before workplace digitization became the norm, paperwork became a very time-consuming task. With the advent of healthcare-related software and OCR technologies, however, this is changing rapidly.
The right automation software and hardware can:
- Save on labor costs. The use of OCR software and medical software removes the need for many administrative tasks, which can cut down on labor costs.
- Improve efficiency. At the same time, automation software also increases efficiency. Doctors can enter orders more quickly, patients can save time by performing tasks digitally, and employees no longer need to wait on hard copies when they can see documents directly inside computers.
- Reduce errors. Although many people do not trust computers, accuracy rates in many arenas are actually increased with the use of computers. For instance, many hospitals now require doctors to enter orders manually into the computer, whereas before administrative assistants were transcribing orders from handwritten notes.
Naturally, the benefits of a software program will depend on the organization, its technology adoption strategy, and which software it uses.
Let’s look at a few examples of use cases for healthcare software and automation platforms.
OCR stands for optical character recognition
This AI-powered technology allows computers to extract written characters from images, such as scanned documents. That text can then be input into other software automatically for further processing.
As mentioned, health care often involves a great deal of paperwork, ranging from patient records to insurance paperwork.
Here are a few use cases for OCR in healthcare:
- Creating searchable PDFs that can be stored in medical databases and accessed through patients’ electronic health records (EHRs)
- Scanning patient identification, intake forms, insurance cards, and other personal information
- Scanning medical prescriptions and importing that information into relevant systems, such as inventory systems and customer databases
Using a software system that addresses these issues can generate even more benefits, such as automating business processes related to insurance validity.
Healthcare-related OCR, however, is subject to other considerations not present for less regulated industries.
Security Considerations for Healthcare OCR
One of the biggest concerns for healthcare and OCR is HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
This law is intended to protect patients’ health information and maintain strict confidentiality, not only between doctors and patients, but also with the storage and manipulation of data.
Healthcare organizations are therefore required to maintain robust security systems when manipulating patient data.
Unsurprisingly, this also means that OCR technology needs to have the right safeguards in place.
Here are a few security measures that should be included with healthcare OCR systems:
- Secure login features for the software
- Secure transmission
- Secure an encrypted data storage
- Logging critical events, such as data transmission and access
Systems that have features such as these can help organizations maintain compliance with HIPAA, a legal requirement for any company in the healthcare industry.
Health Information Systems (HIS)
Health information systems (HISs) are programs designed to manage patient data. These are the core systems used by healthcare organizations and they must be able to collect, store, and process data.
Common types of HISs include:
- EHR systems and electronic medical record (EMR) systems. As the name suggests, these systems are specifically designed to manage electronic patient records.
- Patient portals. Patient portals allow patients to access their own information through online interfaces.
- Remote patient monitoring systems. Remote patient monitoring systems use hardware to measure patient vitals and transmit that information to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
- Clinical decision support. These systems analyze data from a number of sources in order to help clinicians and professionals make educated an informed decisions about their patients’ care.
- Practice management software. These systems handle the day-to-day operations of a clinic or medical practice. Common tasks can include scheduling, billing, interfacing with other medical systems, and more.
- Healthcare OCR applications. As mentioned above, OCR tools can be used to transfer hard copy data from a number of sources, such as ID cards or patient intake forms, and make that accessible to other software programs.
All of the systems covered here form a digital ecosystem that can help healthcare managers stay relevant and productive in today’s digital-first world.
It is important to note that not only are these systems advantageous, they are becoming mandatory for participation in the digital economy – in short, digital transformation in healthcare is not an option.An organization that wants to stay competitive and relevant, for instance, needs to have both these systems as well as others that interface with emerging technologies, such as telehealth software.