AZ Groeninge is a large teaching hospital – one of the oldest hospitals in Belgium, and is affiliated with the Flemish KU Leuven Hospital and E17-network in the city of Kortrijk. The hospital’s relationship with Kodak Alaris and iGuana dates back to 2003, when it first began to use scanners from Kodak Alaris and iGuana’s proprietary software, to back-scan paper-based medical files and create electronic patient records.
AZ Groeninge is a digitally advanced organisation and has enjoyed significant success in digitising the patient journey. The hospital has transformed from paper-heavy to paper-light working, with an effective digital transformation strategy that expanded in 2014 to include daily clinic records as well as archive records. 90 percent of an individual patient’s file is now in electronic form. The medical archives team based in the Scan Factory are responsible for ongoing day-forward scanning as new clinical notes are created.
With the legacy scanners having reached end-of-life, Medical Archives Coordinator Bart Dobbelaere turned to iGuana to recommend a technology refresh. With the two-person team processing an average of 10,000 paper documents each day, rising to 15,000 at the peak, a smooth workflow, ease of use, fast throughput, and superior image quality were key criteria.
iGuana recommended two Kodak i4250 production scanners which combine a host of productivity-boosting features including speeds of 110 pages per minute / 220 images per minute and a 500-sheet input elevator for continuous document feeding, with exceptional image quality.
The solution also included Kodak Capture Pro Software which quickly converts batches of paper into high quality images. Capture Pro Software provides intelligent capabilities that increase productivity and improve efficiency including Intelligent Exception Handling which ensures immediate validation of forms so any missing information at the point of transaction (like a signature) is identified and fixed; and Intelligent Barcode Reading which produces the most accurate data extraction results and takes complexity out of the set-up process. The full end-to-end workflow solution also featured the iGuana iDM Suite – a state-of-the-art software platform. Once captured, documents are fed directly into iGuana iDM and automatically classified within the correct patient medical record in the hospital’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. The platform’s barcode recognition technology recognises barcodes on separation sheets in each scanned file, as well as its contents, allowing iGuana iDM to classify it within the software and create a logical tree structure for each record.
One of the biggest advantages of the combined Kodak Alaris / iGuana solution was that there was no steep learning curve. “Thanks to a consistent user experience, the team were able to leverage the full benefits from day one,” Dobbelaere said. “The capture process is slick and efficient thanks to the scanners’ ability to handle a myriad of media, document types and sizes, and advanced technologies such as Intelligent Document Protection which stops scanning if metal is detected. Intuitive and easy to use, Capture Pro Software also helps ensure a smooth workflow, and once a batch is scanned, the information is seamlessly routed to the iGuana system for classification and indexing, further boosting productivity.”
Ensuring clinicians have a complete overview of their patients’ history is key. Documents are centrally archived in digital form in a highly secure, revision-proof and structured manner and thanks to seamless integration between iGuana iDM and AZ Groeninge’s EHR system, clinicians can easily search for and find information in a matter of seconds.
The solution’s consistency in terms of accurately indexing and classifying the huge volume of data input every day, and seamlessly routing all patient-related information to the right file to provide one-click access for doctors, has served to ensure the wider adoption of digital processes by the hospital’s medical professionals who trust in the system.
Thanks to hospital-wide paper-light working practices, the clinics generate significantly less paper than in previous years, however on average each appointment still creates between four to six documents that need to be scanned. On an average day that can total 10,000 pages.
Paperwork is collected two to three times per day from each clinic and scanning is an all-day process. The team prioritise the order of scanning based on their extensive experience and understanding of each speciality. Smooth running of the operation is essential as the Scan Factory commits to a 48-hour turnaround.
Over one million patient records are centrally archived in digital format within the iGuana iDM system, all of which are accessible to clinicians through the hospital’s EHR. Although the majority of patients’ data (including historical information) is in electronic format, some key pieces of information are still held in paper-based historical records which are stored in a 3,000 sq. m facility 5km from the hospital. If a particular document has not been scanned, a doctor can request the physical file and once retrieved, the Scan Factory digitises the entire record so it’s digitally available for the patient’s next appointment.
In Belgium, it’s mandatory to retain records for 30 years after the last appointment (or for a minor, 30 years after their 18th birthday). Although many files have been fully digitised, the hospital has a long way to go before becoming paper-free, during quieter periods the team continues to work at capacity back-scanning and digitising around 400 files per year.