Paperless push for Clinical Care

While the company has not yet gone completely paperless, an automated data extraction solution using ABBYY FlexiCapture solution has streamlined the vast majority of paper-based processes for Clinical Care Professionals. The Australian organisation provides a wide range of nursing care, therapy services, and care services to people in their own homes.

The company, which was founded over 20 years ago, operates in Adelaide, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast. It provides professional assistance via a personalised plan of treatment, to meet clinical and home support goals. Clients have personal input into the planning of their nursing, home support, and therapy requirements.

Clinical Care Professionals has a paper-based documentation system to monitor the work that is done in clients’ houses by its mix of employees. A folder delivered to every client’s house is filled with standardised forms for the employee to fill out and the client to sign whenever work is done in the home.

This system provides the company with an affordable way to keep track of the work done and is easy to use for the clients, who are generally seniors. For regulatory and legal reasons, Clinical Care Professionals has to make sure that the work carried out in clients’ homes is reflected accurately in this paperwork, which is periodically returned to Clinical Care Professionals by its fleet of field workers to be recorded and filed.

The processes involved in receiving this paperwork from the field, entering the information into computer systems, and then storing the forms themselves was labour-intensive, costing Clinical Care Professionals in employee time and money. The company would have to periodically hire additional short-term staff to clear paperwork backlogs that would accumulate over time.

The paper-based processes involved not only cost Clinical Care Professionals time and money, it also made it difficult to comply with regulatory requirements and the ISO 9001 quality management certification. The documentation standard requires management to demonstrate ‘control of document versions’ to receive accreditation.

Carolyn David, Co-founder and Co-director, Clinical Care Professionals, said, “We have standardised paperwork, but often we have to update it according to new health and care regulations, so we were getting multiple iterations of forms all over the place.

“Not only that, the documents often come back in varying time frames, so we ended up with boxes and boxes of paperwork that needed to be put into the system manually and then stored in boxes. It was creating a lot of extra work, and using up a lot of storage space.”

Digital solution

The ABBYY FlexiCapture solution was suggested by implementation partner, Konica Minolta, when Clinical Care Professionals purchased a new Konica Minolta multifunction printer. ABBYY FlexiCapture is a powerful data capture and document processing solution that is designed to transform streams of documents of any form or complexity into digital business-ready data.

The ABBYY FlexiCapture solution was integrated with the Konica Minolta multifunction device, meaning it could scan batches of more than 50 documents at a time via the machine’s paper feeder.

Carolyn David said, “With the new Konica Minolta multifunction device, we had the ability to scan stacks of documents, so it made sense to go that extra step and incorporate the ABBYY FlexiCapture solution. This can identify and digitise specific form-based information and send it directly to other business systems for archiving and operational purposes.”

Clinical Care Professionals implemented a barcode system where clients’ forms would all be marked with an identifying sticker, which could be read by the ABBYY FlexiCapture solution. This let the automated system match up the information it was taking from the forms with individual clients. Clinical Care Professionals redesigned the format of its forms to make them easy to read and extract information from using the automated system.

After taking the time to create and send out ID stickers for all the clients, redesign the paperwork, educate staff, and fine-tune the system with the help of Konica Minolta staff, the FlexiCapture solution was able to automatically sort document information into client ID, document type, and date order, adding patient and care data automatically to clients’ digital files. Once the information is stored digitally, it is backed up and protected from loss.

Because the ABBYY FlexiCapture solution, in combination with the Konica Minolta multifunction device, has automated the most time-consuming parts of Clinical Care Professionals’ paperwork processes, it has freed up the company’s administrative staff to focus on more value-added activities, saving approximately one full day per week of administration time.

Additionally, the company no longer develops a backlog of unprocessed documents from its field workers over time, negating the need for it to periodically hire temporary staff to process this overflow. At the same time, the digital capture capabilities of the solution mean that Clinical Care Professionals is able to destroy its paper documents sooner rather than later, reducing its long-term need for archiving space and associated costs.

Carolyn David said, “With the new solution in place, all administrative staff have to do now is to make sure the forms are correctly labelled with the ID sticker and positioned in the right way for the scanner to extract the data.

“Once a sample of three or four processed forms has been double checked to make sure the digitised information is correct, we can place the documents into the confidential waste bin for the contracted document company to collect and destroy rather than having to store it in secure archiving boxes for years.”

The other major benefit of the new solution is that, because all the client information is now digitised and stored electronically, Clinical Care Professionals has greater control over management and access of the records. This makes accreditation for the ISO 9001 quality management certification documentation standard much easier to maintain.