Jan 20 2022

Scanners Boost Efficiency as Healthcare Undergoes Digital Transformation

Epson's scanners provide a compact, secure and efficient way for healthcare organizations to digitize paper forms.

Even as the healthcare industry continues to digitalize, the use of paper forms, contact sheets, medical records and a range of other document types requires the use of scanners.

More robust and compact than ever before, scanners in use by healthcare organizations are also contributing to data security by reducing the volume of paper forms containing sensitive patient health information.  

As Tim Anderson, Epson’s commercial scanner group product manager, explained to HealthTech, the No. 1 priority healthcare professionals need in their scanners is reliability, which, combined with factors such as portability and data-entry speed, can help aid the industry in its push toward digitalization.

DISCOVER: Explore how Epson's scanners help healthcare organizations increase productivity.

HEALTHTECH: Where does the healthcare industry stand today in terms of digitalization and the continued need for paper?

ANDERSON: Over the past decade or so, the healthcare industry has made great strides to move almost exclusively to digital records and digital patient record management. However, paper is still vital at the front end of the process for things like patient intake. What we hear from our partners is that a lot of places are asking patients to preregister before an appointment through a web browser, but the reality is that most people don’t check their email. The patient gets to the front counter and needs to fill out this information longhand. Paper becomes a vital part of guest reception, and the 30 questions the doctor needs answered also require efficient input at the receptionist’s desk. That’s where Epson scanners come into play.

HEALTHTECH: What are some other key use cases for scanners?

ANDERSON: We see scanners in multiple places in the doctor’s office, the dentist’s office and at the nurse’s station. Upfront at the patient intake, there’s usually a scanner. We also see them back in the nurse’s station, where the work gets done. We also see scanners helping digitize patient records such as paper prescriptions or patient history documents that need to get into the system. And while demand is subsiding for these very large, heavy-duty scanners for churning through archives of patient records, there are still those hospitals working through a backlog of archives.

READ MORE: Learn 4 ways mobile workstations are evolving to meet clinicians’ needs.

HEALTHTECH: How do these scanners improve staff efficiency?

ANDERSON: The ability to get analog documents quickly and efficiently into the digital world is a huge timesaver. Imagine if that front-desk receptionist needed to hand-code 40 responses into an input screen for one patient — the queue would be going out the door. It’s the same thing with nurses: If they need to input multiple pages of doctor’s notes, scanning saves valuable time. Getting information into the system as efficiently as possible is where the healthcare provider receives the benefit and gains those efficiencies.

HEALTHTECH: What roles do form factor and portability play for scanners in healthcare?

ANDERSON: Part of the mission is fitting on the desk. Even something as simple as a more compact scanner in a crowded office environment means there’s more room for other equipment. Other times in the healthcare environment, it’s put on a rolling cart with a PC and printer for the hospital billing administrators. Having a compact scanner that fits on a cart, which can be attached, is a big benefit for them. If we could save 3 or 4 inches of desk space for a thousand receptionists, that’s considerable.

Tim Anderson
From a patient security standpoint, having them fill out a form with their private information, scan it and then shred it — that’s much safer than just leaving that paper lying around.”

Tim Anderson Commercial Scanner Group Product Manager, Epson

HEALTHTECH: How do scanners contribute to security?

ANDERSON: When we look at patient security, paper is the most dangerous part of it. One would assume computers are hackable — and, of course, that does happen — but when we examined digital records versus paper records, the digital records are just more secure. Paper records can be lost, misplaced or pulled out of the trash. It’s just not a great situation to have a lot of private information printed and on paper. From a patient security standpoint, having them fill out a form with their private information, scan it and then shred it — that’s much safer than just leaving that paper lying around.

HEALTHTECH: What innovations have you been working on regarding scanners for the healthcare market?

ANDERSON: One of the areas we’ve invested heavily in is reliability. At the end of the day, our healthcare providers want a scanner that works. They want something that fulfills the mission. They want it to be reliable and they want to forget about it.

That means it works with their software solution on the back end, and so compatibility is important. We work with all the healthcare software providers to certify our hardware with their software, because it’s important to healthcare providers to ensure whatever they buy is going to work with the software. They’ve already invested millions into the document records management system. They need to know they don’t have to change software back ends because a scanner doesn’t have the right driver. We spend a lot of time ensuring our hardware complies with the software, because it needs to work.

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