By George Harpur

Despite the digital transformation of organisations today, many people have a continued reliance on paper, especially in information-intensive areas like healthcare. Clinicians and providers typically have thousands or millions of pages of legacy paper records, and new ones being generated daily. But as they are being encouraged to scan those paper records and transition to electronic systems, in many cases practitioners are finding it harder rather than easier to find the specific information they are looking for.

Solving the Document Management Problem

This got me thinking. We need to solve one major problem with digital document management: ease. If it’s not easy to pull up the specific documents they need, clinicians would rather use paper. If it’s not easy to implement a digital solution, and there is a long learning curve, practitioners would rather not bother. If it’s too complex and expensive, the effort to go paperless simply isn't justified.

At aluma, we've created a set of tools and technologies that help healthcare practitioners to ‘get over the hump’ of digital transformation.

Classification and Indexing

It starts with an automated classification and indexing process. Imagine a scanned PDF of a patient record. Depending on the patient, this could reach hundreds of pages. Without proper indexing, it’s much easier for a clinician to fan through a paper file for the information they need vs. scrolling through a screen. Classification uses machine learning to assign a 'type' to each sheet of the scanned record, even when the content is highly variable, and an automated indexing process pulls out other key information such as dates and diagnoses.

Bookmarking

Inserting 'bookmarks' into the record is a practical yet powerful way to use the index data and help any user find the information they need quickly. Aluma can automatically add bookmarks directly into documents, or provide the data to an existing medical record viewer. Nurses and doctors simply call up the file, and are provided with key information, and associated content links, about the contents of the record. The entire file is still captured and stored together, but users can now easily find and navigate to the parts of the record that are most relevant to them.

Despite digitization, many healthcare clinicians and providers are actually finding that it is more difficult to find the specific information they are looking for.

Moving Forward

This approach enhances rather than replaces a traditional Electronic Medical Records system. The enriched indexing data that aluma provides makes navigation within a record much easier, and the automated bookmarking technique means that none of the original context is lost. With this approach, 'data perfection' is not required, so the benefits are obtained without needing an expensive and time-consuming manual review process. This allows healthcare providers to solve the problem of hard-to-navigate records in a pragmatic, affordable and easy-to-adopt way, and helps smooth the road to digital transformation.

Watch a demo video showing Aluma Auto-bookmarking and Indexing Medical Records.

George Harpur is co-founder and CEO at aluma. Since earning his PhD from Cambridge University in the mid 90s, he has been applying these skills to document automation, and has played a prominent role in the development of multiple industry-leading products.


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