06 Mar Paperport Takes Me Closer To The Paperless Medical Office

After practicing medicine for over 20 years I have amassed a large amount of paper from both clinical and business sources. Throughout college, medical school and residency, books and printed medical journals were my main medical resources. I tore articles from my journals, Xeroxed library books and made thermal copies from microfiche readers, then stored this glut of information in a large lateral file cabinet for future reference. Everything was paper, so I wrote notes in the margins and highlighted sections for quickly finding information. I also have accumulated hundreds of insurance contracts, years of insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs), vital business papers and accounting documents, to name a few.

(Source: Laurence Chu)

My first experience with Paperport came when my brother-in-law (the founder of Moor Insights & Strategy) gave me a Visioneer scanner keyboard with Paperport. The scanner keyboard is no longer around, and Visoneer became ScanSoft and is now Nuance, also known for its voice recognition software, Dragon Dictate, which I have also used. Paperport software has also evolved, and I use Paperport Pro now.

Today, the internet has replaced books for quick medical information, and medical students who visit my office are amazed to see so many medical books. I still have my file cabinet, but thanks to Nuance’s Paperport Pro everything is available across my network and cloud. I have used Paperport for more than 15 years, not only for storing journal articles, but for my business documents as well.

My business documents, including insurance contracts, billing, banking and corporate files are scanned and then stored, making them readily available. Paperport software has proven itself every time I needed to find a statement or contract quickly. On one occasion, when I moved my medical office it caused my reimbursements from an insurance company to be reduced suddenly because the address changed in their system. Their computer had no record of prior negotiations, but because I was able to produce my contract quickly, the impact of their mistake on my business was minimal. I even keep a short term folder that I review every week and clean out. I can make digital notes on the scans and even stack electronic documents together. The current version of Paperport also allows me to password protect documents.

PaperPort is a useful program that helps streamline the front and back office of my medical practice. However, I wish it was integrated into the clinical suite (Electronic Medical Record and Practice management software) that I use. Moving, stacking and storing electronic information is quick and easy in Paperport. By using a Fax server and scanners, I have achieved a great reduction in paper, and my staff can access the information efficiently when needed. Most insurance companies send their EOBs as a compiled list that is not easily separated into individual files that can be stored with individual patient records. The use of Paperport has allowed me to build a database of insurance EOBs that would be impossible if kept in paper form.

I still need to manually find specific data, but that is fairly quick. Perhaps, the greatest issue in need of a solution in a paperless medical office is the ability to cross reference selected pieces of information from multiple software packages into a single source. Since the current software is not linked, multiple windows are used to search and manually correlate data. Patient correspondence and other records need scanning, faxes, e-prescribing and patient portals all help to reduce the paper impact and are compiled into the EMR or Practice management package. However, the focus has been on the patient encounter, with little attention paid to building a comprehensive solution to the business requirements to augment patient care and streamline the business. I require a more robust business package of integrated software to run the business efficiently. Personally, Paperport helps manage this information, but I am looking for a more integrated and robust data management solution.