From document management to digital imaging and communications in medicine: The evolution of enterprise content management
Enterprise content management (ECM) has made tremendous strides in the past ten years, yet in many cases, it remains invisible to those who use it every day. ECM stores the clinical content that resides outside of the electronic medical record (EMR) – as much as 65 percent in some instances – and a large proportion of administrative and financial content, making it the single most central content repository in a healthcare organization.
ECM started as a departmental document management solution in administrative and financial departments. What was then referred to as “imaging and document management,” the solution concentrated on scanning and electronically storing paper content to help departments reduce storage costs and recover valuable space. Over time, the solution grew to include workflows, business process management and case management capabilities that accelerate business processes, saving time and resources. It’s evolved from a document management solution into what is now known as ECM.
It’s a familiar sight to see medical office staff hand a patient a clipboard of forms. It’s not very common for patients to receive a mobile tablet device that contains electronic versions of all of the relevant forms they need to review, complete and sign. ECM automatically fills the forms with the patient information that’s already on file, so patients do not have to input redundant information, making for a better experience. And, because ECM electronically captures the content, complete and accurate patient information is instantly available from within the electronic medical record (EMR), streamlining the entire registration process as well as downstream processes, like billing. This clinical content strategy is essential to the health data continuum, providing healthcare organizations with the roadmap to improved patient care.