A Scanning Plan

February 1, 2004

Our central billing office is fast becoming overcrowded with paper. We'd like to start scanning our EOBs and recording them on CDs, cataloged by posting date. What is the best way to organize them in a scanning system? What about scanning medical records?

Question: Our central billing office is fast becoming overcrowded with paper. We'd like to start scanning our EOBs and recording them on CDs, cataloged by posting date. What is the best way to organize them in a scanning system? What about scanning medical records?

Answer: We suggest, first of all, that you cross-catalog the EOBs with a second data point, as well as the posting date. Try, for example, including the account number, patient's last name, or something else. That way, you won't have to look through hundreds of EOBs to get to the one you need.

Hospital records and office notes can be scanned - or you could just choose to scan EOBs and patients' insurance cards. It's really up to you - you don't have to scan everything.

If you opt to scan records, you can scan those that come in from other practices, just as you would an EOB or a hospital discharge summary.

You can create a paper chart for any images that cannot be scanned. Make sure that there is documentation in the scanned record to refer the provider or user to the paper chart if they want to see the image.

As for how to categorize and organize all these electronic images, if you're scanning records, you could use the patient's account number as the primary identifier, and then "office," "hospital," or "lab" as the second identifier, and the date as the third.

As you shop around for vendors, involve them in helping you with the organization of your system. A good vendor who is familiar with medical practices may be very useful in helping plan this.