How To Build A Paperless Healthcare Organization

November 29, 2021

Going paperless is a smart move for any business nowadays. Research shows that 59% of companies break even on their investment in going paperless after the first 12 months and 84% do in less than 18 months.

But if your healthcare organization is going to go paperless, it needs to use the right strategies to nail the transition and recoup its investment.

We’ve put together this article to help you achieve that goal. Keep reading to learn how to build a paperless healthcare organization and prepare your company for the future.

Why go paperless

Going paperless is a term that means replacing your company’s paper documents with digital replicas. For example, instead of keeping your patient files in a desk, you’d keep them in the cloud.

Though this costs some capital to do, it’s a price that’s almost always worth paying for a healthcare organization. Here are five reasons why that’s true.

Superior document security

HIPAA places stringent requirements on what healthcare organizations need to do to keep their patients’ confidential medical information secure. 

But it can be tough to remain fully HIPAA compliant while using a paper-based system because everything has a physical copy that staff members pass around the office.

Going digital eliminates these concerns. With a paperless system, you don’t have to worry about stray documents ruining your HIPAA-compliant status.

Improved accessibility

Going paperless will also expand access to all of the documents that your practice needs to function. It makes it easier for everyone who needs to access things like patient documents and billing statements to do so without having to go and retrieve the physical documents.

Enhanced efficiency

You should also be able to bring your team’s efficiency up by making an investment to go paperless. This is because digital documents are much easier for your organization to work with.

You will effectively eliminate the need to print things out, scan them and fetch and retrieve physical documents. This adds up to save you a ton of time really quickly.

And you can use that extra time to do things like improving your patients’ waiting room experience by reducing the amount of time they have to spend in it.

Good for the environment

It’s also worth mentioning that paperless healthcare organizations are much more environmentally-friendly than paper-backed businesses. Paper production is bad for the environment so you can do your part to help by bringing down the amount that you purchase.

Reduce costs

Paperless healthcare organizations also typically cost much less to run than traditional practices. You should absolutely save more than your initial investment as the months and years of being paperless go by.

Improve your patients’ experiences

Going digital also opens up new avenues for your healthcare organization to engage patients

When your practice is entirely paperless, it becomes much easier to do things like open up a patient portal or start offering telemedicine since you will already have a digital system in place for all of the documentation that you need to do so.

How to build a paperless healthcare organization (step-by-step instructions)

It’ll be much easier for you to transition your healthcare organization to a paperless one if you start with the right game plan. You can copy this step-by-step guide entirely or use it as inspiration for your own.

Ask for feedback from your team

At the end of the day, it’s your team who is going to be using whatever digital solution you bring to your healthcare practice. So you want to be sure that the paperless system you set up is an ideal fit for how they get things done.

The only way to make sure that this happens is to ask your team for advice at the beginning of this transition process. Doing so should help you gain some insights into the types of features that any paperless system that you invest in needs to have in order to be effective.

Start with the right software

Picking the right software is the key to a successful digital transformation. You may need a few different types of software to get the most out of your plan.

First, make sure that you have solid document management software. Yours should make it easy for everyone on your staff to interact with all of the documents that they need to use to do their jobs.

You may also need to invest in software that allows you to securely send and receive messages. This is important for healthcare organizations because you want to be sure that you’re able to maintain HIPAA compliance without sacrificing communicative efficiency.

Be sure to take the feedback from your team that you got in step one while making your decision.

Upgrade your hardware

Next, you may also need to upgrade some of your hardware. For example, if your office computers aren’t capable of handling a comprehensive digital system, you may need to get new ones before proceeding.

It could also be a smart idea to invest in digital signage as part of your paperless transition. It makes it much easier for you to communicate with both patients and employees in a completely paperless way.

Make digital copies of your existing paper documents

Now that you have both your software and hardware in place, it’s time to begin making digital copies of your paper documents. This is often the most complicated and time-consuming part of the process.

Just keep in mind your why as you go through this step. And don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you initially expect. The benefits will absolutely be worth it once you’ve finished.

Destroy your remaining paper documents

Once you’ve completed your digital migration successfully, you’ll be ready to get rid of the remaining paper documents that you have. This is a process that can be a little more complicated than it initially appears.

That’s because healthcare organizations have to satisfy certain HIPAA-related requirements for how they get rid of patient documents. So you may have to do a little research to make sure that you meet your obligations.

There are organizations that you can hire to do this for you as well.

Stay committed and track your progress over time

Taking your healthcare organization from a paper-based system to a digital one can be super rewarding. But it won’t come without its challenges.

After the transition is complete, it’s important to stay committed to the process even if there are some initial hiccups. You’ll also want to track your progress over time to make sure that things really are getting better

Challenges to overcome

Many healthcare organizations get real value out of transitioning to become a paperless company. But you may encounter a few challenges during that process. 

Recognizing these in advance can help you deal with them more effectively if they arrive. So here are three challenges that you may face while making this transition.

Upfront investment costs

Going paperless should absolutely save your organization money in the long run. But it’s an investment that takes some time to recoup its value. So you’ll need to have some money set aside that you can devote to making this transition, which you don’t need to get back right away.

Resistance from team members

Another thing to keep in mind is that team members can sometimes be resistant to big changes like this. If you have people in your organization who are used to doing things a certain way, they could be very resistant to the idea of changing the way your company runs this significantly.

If you get some resistance, remind your team of how valuable the new system will be to them. Tell them about how much easier it will be when they don’t have to deal with paper documents anymore after the change is done.

The merging process

The actual process of taking your paper documents and making them digital can also be complicated. Many healthcare organizations have thousands, if not tens of thousands of paper documents.

It won’t be possible to digitize these documents overnight. So make sure that you’re ready for this process to take a while before going into it.

Going paperless is easier with UPshow

Digital signage can help to make your paperless transition a success. It’s a technology that you can use to digitize things like:

  • In-office advertising
  • Communication between employees and patients
  • Communication between employees
  • And most other things you’ve traditionally used paper for

But don’t just take our word for it. You can sign up for a free custom demo of UPshow today to experience how much your healthcare organization can benefit from it.

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