Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thinking about how to convert my data from paper to electronic

I had been thinking about how to convert from paper-based data to computer-based data. I found these resources to be very helpful:
  • Computerization and going paperless in Canadian primary care, a book by Dr. Nicola Shaw, which I bought from the CMA's website
  • Implementing an electronic medical record in your practice, available here. The "rapid but cautious" article by Dr. Mark Dermer is especially useful
As well, there is the Physician's Guide to implementing electronic medical records (free for CMA members)

Dr. Dermer suggests converting during quieter office times; Fall is not a good time, as we are especially busy due to flu shots. During the summer, everyone is away, so that is not a good time either. We are going to train in February, and start using the EMR in March.

Scanning all my old charts is not going to be very useful. You can't easily search the scanned images, and it would be a lot of work. Dr. Dermer suggests thinking of charts as "volume 1" (paper), and "volume 2"(EMR), which makes a lot of sense to me. I will be entering my Cumulative Patient Profile (CPP), which is the summary report at the front of the chart into the EMR, and almost nothing else. All new lab results and other reports will go into the EMR after the start date.

I had been thinking about hiring someone to enter the CPP on the computer, but have decided to do it myself. It is the most important part of the chart, and needs to be done properly and reliably. I have made sure that my CPPs are well organized, which will help with data entry.

The IT trainer from myNightingale had asked me for a test diskette with data from my old billing program. He needed to test it to see if transferring demographic data (patient names, dates of birth, addresses, health card numbers etc) would work. I was able to give him that, and he said we should have no problem with this data. Scheduling and billing data are more of a problem; they cannot be transferred. We will print the schedule and manually transfer it to the new system, but I'm not sure what we will do with billing yet. The trainer told me that he will get a "final cut", which is the demographic data on the last day we use the old system, and transfer it to the new system so it is ready for "go live day".



EM said...

I bought a Canon DR-2080C about a year ago to scan medical textbooks. It is the cheapest duplex sheet-fed scanner. It works rather well if the rollers & sensors are kept clean. Since then, I scan everything.

I keep the scans as a JPEG file because I have not found an OCR sofware that works in real life.

Another option is to look at your copier: most modern office copiers are in fact scanners, and most have a sheet feeder. With some modifications, they can produce digital files.

Michelle Greiver said...

As a group, we've decided to go with the Fujitsu fi-5120. It is a fast sheet-fed scanner, at 25 pages per minute. Very robust file transfer to PC. I don't want page scanning to be a hold-up in my office, and we will continue to receive paper in the next few years, until more of the health care system converts to electronic. It will be scan and shred for now.