The Paperless Environment: Why Most Clinics Have Gone Paper-Free

There are several short and long term benefits of going paperless. When you transition from paper-based to electronic operations, you’ll have less clutter to deal with, and many more advantages than you may have expected. Here are four main reasons why a lot of practices have gone paper-free.

You can save money.

According to a study published in 2002 by Quality and Safety in Healthcare, 86 percent of mistakes in family care offices involved document-related activities, such as misfiling patient information, prescribing the wrong medication, and ordering incorrect or duplicate tests.

Going paperless not only allows you to save on paper, but also spares expense on printing, copying, and disposal. Most of all, a paperless office helps you avoid mistakes in handling healthcare information.

While paper is still the standard for record-keeping, making a move onto digitizing patient records also saves you money in terms of storage and management.

It helps increase efficiency and improve quality of care.

Every day, your clinic deals with a number of patients requiring you to write down, update, and store patient information. Because of paper-related inefficiencies, delays on reimbursement are inevitable, and patient care is likely compromised.

Your clinic’s staff can do less paperwork and focus more on patient care when you have efficient storage, distribution, and usage of patient data through electronic solutions.

You can save your time for more important matters.

The mere act of getting the patient charts to access the information that you’re looking for, and then putting them back where they belong can be very cumbersome and time consuming. These seemingly minor tasks waste about two hours worth of productivity.

Storing soft copies of documents and relying on electronic data to access patient information can be done quickly, in such a short amount of time, allowing you to make the most out of your work hours and increase your productivity.

Paperless clinics reduce carbon footprint

According to Reduce.org, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Imagine the number of trees cut off and processed into paper that a whole practice worth of workers are expected to use — in a year.

As defenders of good health, it is our responsibility to help preserve the environment that we share with the members of our community. By going paper-free, we help encourage the public to avoid wasting paper and and develop a more mindful approach to Earth’s natural resources.

So what are some tips for paperless conversion?

  • Only print when necessary. There may be instances where documents have to be printed, so when you do, make sure it is printed on recycled paper.
  • Double-check your content before printing. Make sure you’ve eliminated all errors to avoid reprinting.
  • Avoid using paper cups. Remind your staff to always bring and use their mugs or tumblers at work, so that purchasing paper cups becomes unnecessary.
  • Go electronic. Store important information such as patient records electronically. Technology and outsourcing services have made it even more convenient for clinics to replace conventional documentation methods with paper-free solutions.

The task of digitizing all of your paper records may sound daunting, but with a dedicated team assigned to it, the transition from paper to electronic becomes easier and more cost-effective than you may have imagined. Outsourcing services — such as DrCatalyst’s excellent Paper Document Conversion — helps practices adapt smoothly to electronic operations by converting paper documents into electronic records and integrating them with EHR. You’ll be surprised that, after a few months, your workflow is already paperless and fully digital.

Going paper-free could be the solution you have been looking for, but keep in mind that what works for many may not work for you. However, it is safe to say that going full digital is a key to achieving the maximum rate of work done in your practice. It frees up the time spent on tedious paper-based tasks, it quickens the access and transfer to information, it helps maintain data integrity, it saves money and office space, and it helps improve the quality of care delivered by your clinic. Most importantly, it helps you stay focused on patient care and remain competitive and relevant in today’s healthcare landscape.