You may still have some use for paper in your practice. You may still have patients who prefer letters and postcards as their primary mode of communication. Some patients may prefer paper receipts and printed treatment estimated. And you may still be getting paper EOBs from many insurance companies. That’s OK. Your goal is not to eliminate paper completely. The goal is to reduce any unnecessary use of paper and work more efficiently.
This article is an excerpt from our most recent eBook, “Your Journey To A Paperless Practice.”
Digitally Store Incoming Paper
So what you do with all the paper that comes to your office? You have to scan it, at least most of it. The problem is that scanning is one of those wearisome tasks that nobody wants to do. Because of that, just about every office has a “to be scanned” pile that grows every day. There are a few strategies you can implement to reduce that pile.
Your pile may contain many different papers from various sources:
- Insurance EOB
- Lab and Supply Invoices
- Miscellaneous Correspondences
- Records from Previous Providers
- Reports from Specialists
- Be very selective of what you scan
- Reach out to the specialists you work with regularly and encourage them to send reports as an attachment to a HIPAA compliant email
- Batch-scan anything that doesn’t need to be in a patient file, such as checks and lab invoices.
- Commit to only touching each piece of paper once.
- Keep in mind that anything you scan that contains PHI must be stored in a secure manner with a HIPAA compliant storage.
Replace your old fax machine with a digital fax.
Sign up with a HIPAA compliant online fax solution to securely send, receive, sign and manages faxes without printing a single document. Digitizing your fax will not only make it easier to attach faxed information to patient’s files, but it will also allow you to eliminate your analog fax telephone line.
What About EOBs?
Scanning all EOBs is neither necessary nor a good use of your precious time in most states. Once processed, most EOBs can be safely shredded. If needed, you can always request a duplicate EOB from the insurance company. Only scan EOBs when a secondary insurance is involved or when a payment was either denied or different from the original estimate and re-evaluation is required.
If you decide to scan EOBs you can batch scan all EOBs for each day. Many software vendors now offer electronic EOBs. Using electronic EOBs, you can streamline claim reconciliation, reduce errors and speed up secondary insurance and patient billing. As a bonus, you’ll have a lot less scanning to do.
Of course, always check your state law to ensure compliance.