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Using the right integrated scanners for Epic Healthcare can streamline operations

Epic is a leading EHR/EMR system that is widely used by hospitals and health systems across the country.  Epic develops a proprietary electronic medical record software application, known in whole as ‘Epic’ or an Epic EMR. The company’s healthcare software is centered on its Chronicles database management system. Epic’s applications support functions related to patient care, including registration and scheduling; clinical systems for doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, and other care providers; systems for lab technologists, pharmacists, and radiologists; and billing systems for insurers. MyChart is used in the US and other countries to access doctors’ records and for billing purposes.

Epic software solutions are able to automate, facilitate and improve a wide array of key processes in healthcare including:

  • Digital Patient Experience
  • Patient Flow
  • Primary Care
  • Specialty Care
  • Acute and Inpatient Care
  • Advancing Medicine
  • Revenue Cycle Management
  • …and much more

Being a software solution, there are times when hardware must be implemented and integrated with Epic to support processes that require some form of non-digital document capture and subsequent movement of these documents into the appropriate software solution within Epic.

These cases are typically related to a specific healthcare workflow.  Creating successful healthcare workflows that use hardware such as a document or card scanner depends on choosing the right hardware that has been properly vetted with Epic and tested in live environments.  It also depends on choosing the right equipment for the unique and diverse physical environments that exists in healthcare.  For example, many cart-based patient registration systems are used in an ER setting.  Patient intake in an ER means getting the patient through triage and stable and then completing a registration, insurance capture and co-pay.  This being done using mobile carts means choosing the right hardware that works in a mobile, compact fashion and may include several pieces of technology such as a scanner and e-signature capture pad.

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Keys to choosing the right scanner

  • Compatibility – is the scanner(s) a vetted and compatible technology for Epic?  This often means that the scanners work with a common technology framework.  In scanners, this is most often TWAIN.  TWAIN and TWAIN Direct are application programming interfaces (APIs) and communication protocols that regulate communication between software and digital imaging devices, such as image scanners, document scanners, card scanners and more. TWAIN as a protocol is supported on Microsoft Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.  In additional to general protocol support, make sure the scanner(s) have been tested in live environments performing the real-world tasks which will be completed…such as ensuring you can quickly scan an insurance card during patient check in.  Putting the wrong equipment or equipment that fails in the hands of busy personnel is a recipe for employee frustration and poor patient experience.
  • Environmental Flexibility – In Healthcare, there are many different physical environments on which a piece of hardware must sit.  Size and ergonomics come into play here.  A busy front desk in a high-traffic medical office will have precious little extra space available for busy employees to operate on.  Make sure the device can handle the primary scanning duties in the space that is available.
  • Easy of implementation/Ease of use – If you’re looking to improve patient intake in a distributed health network, you’re going to be installing and supporting a myriad of technologies remotely.  In choosing complimentary hardware for Epic, ease or installation and ease of use should be very high on the list of key requirements.  Equipment that is difficult to setup and use will impair the very processes that you’re trying to improve with the combination of Epic and a Scanner.

Conclusion

Sophisticated software solutions like Epic are designed to improve patient workflows, thus improving the productivity of employees and the overall experience of patients.  In some cases, these workflows can be impeded by selecting the wrong hardware, whether that hardware is not a good environmental fit or simply not functionally compatible with the software.  To ensure you get the right hardware for Epic,  make sure  it’s tested and vetted in real-world environments.  Ensure it’s easy to setup and use and subsequently maintain and you’ll have happier employees and better patient experiences.

About AMBIR

AMBIR is leading provider of digital capture and workflow solutions for healthcare providers.  Our technology comes in the form of document, ID and Card scanners as well as peripheral products such as digital signature pads, barcode scanners, high-speed scanners and printers and flexible web cams.  AMBIR has been a long-time hardware partner of Epic and we have been a leader in supporting the digital capture needs of healthcare providers for over 25 years.  We operate from offices throughout the US and provide exclusive US-based support for all customers.

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