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Lady sat at a desk using a laptop and scanning a document on a Brother scanner

What healthcare IT professionals should look for in their document scanning solutions

Digitising paper-based patient records is on the agenda for healthcare organisations right across the NHS, but the scale of the challenge can be intimidating.

In busy environments where time and efficiency are key – not to mention the need for absolute accuracy – it’s essential for organisations to use technology solutions that are fit for purpose.

That means using well-built document scanners that can operate at high speeds and which won’t miss pages, break down or fail when faced with very high volumes of materials to scan. It also means ensuring excellent integration with digital systems, so operators don’t have to navigate complex menus every time, and that information always ends up in the right place.

Here are some of the key features of a document scanning solution you should be looking for as a professional in healthcare faced with a big digitisation project.

Ultrasonic detection – no page left behind

Any document scanner being used in a high-volume application should be able to handle multi-feeding for documents, avoiding the need for the user to be tethered to the hardware, loading page after page, and losing precious time spoon-feeding a machine.

More important now is the ability to truly ‘fire and forget’ when it comes to document scanning. The best modern scanning solutions incorporate ultrasonic detection in their arsenal of fail-safes.

Ultrasonic detection works to ensure that no page of a document falls through the cracks, leading to incomplete patient notes and frustrations when healthcare decisions are impeded by a frantic search for a missing page.

Discerning practices should ensure the reliability of their document retention at all times, and ultrasonic detection works to alleviate that worry from clerical staff, freeing up their time for other tasks.

Matching the file to the patient

When a patient enters a hospital, they’re provided a wristband to help identify them as they move from ward to ward and doctor to nurse. Their documents should be no different.

Barcode Utility is an ingenious addition to scan solutions that can make all the difference.

Instead of scanning a file, finding it in a database and then having to manually transfer it to where it’s supposed to go, each file has a barcode affixed to it. The scanner sees the barcode, which acts as a digital dog-tag, informing the software on the scanner where to send the document. The barcode can link the document to a patient’s NHS number, so it will be automatically matched to the right person.

This means that patient information can quickly be itemised, grouped together, and sent along the digital infrastructure to exactly where it belongs. Meaning all staff need to do is set the scanner going – it does the rest on its own.

Complete confidentiality through secure scanning

Patient records are privileged information and need to be handled with the utmost care. It’s critical that the solution you use doesn’t compromise that by saving scanned documents in locations that leave it open for unwanted viewing.

That’s why it’s important to look for scanners that offer the ability to scan securely via Secure File Transfer Protocols, keeping information safe as it is passed along into your systems, away from prying eyes.

Secure desktop scanners offer locking features that allow you to limit who can scan and which desktop folders and shortcut profiles they can scan to. The printer’s screen and on-device controls can also be locked, except to those who have an authorised PIN or near-field communication (NFC) card. In doing so, you can ensure that patient records are only ever available to those with the right access credentials.

Ask the expert

When making a decision that may affect the day-to-day of how your organisation functions, it’s important to think carefully about what you need and marry it to the many features that different scanner options can offer.

Brother is ‘At your side’ to help with this process, and we have decades of experience working with healthcare IT departments to design and implement scanning solutions that help make light work of big tasks.

To discover more information on what healthcare providers should be looking for in their document management efforts, view our range of desktop scanners.

Find out how our ADS4 range of scanners could fit the bill for your patient-record digitisation needs here.

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