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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Hospital's Document Imaging Goes Digital

patient documents
The OU Medical Center generates thousands of patient documents such as this form. Because of privacy concerns, this is a mocked up sample.
Bell+Howell scanner
Photos: OU Medical Center
This Bell+Howell scanner scans thousands of patient documents. The hospital is in the process of scanning its paper records, a process that may continue for five years.
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Oklahoma's largest hospital, OU Medical Center (Oklahoma City, OK), was awash in paper. Like all hospitals, OU Medical Center maintains extensive files on all patients that are treated in its four facilities. An average file contains 100 to 150 pages or more.

While much of the patient information has become computer-generated over the years, some documents in the patient file including doctors' progress notes and orders are still handwritten. Hard-copy patient files remain on the shelf for two years and are filed using a terminal digit filing system. Previously, the thousands of patient files were captured on microfilm for future reference, and old hard-copy files were kept in file rooms and in boxes.

It often takes 10 to 15 minutes to look for a specific record on microfilm. The medical personnel needed to have easier access to patient records and research.

The medical center turned to Business Imaging Systems Inc. (BIS; Edmond, OK), a provider of document and content management hardware, software and services for a solution.

The firm's document conversion service bureau has been scanning OU Medical Center's patient records since May 2004. Tens of thousands of images at a time are transferred temporarily onto USB 2.0 hard drives; the images are then loaded into EMC Documentum (Pleasanton, CA) ApplicationXtender onsite at OU Medical Center by a BIS employee.

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