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Case Study: Digitizing Health Records

Bringing Patient Medical Files Into the 21st Century


About our client

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHSC) is a family of hospitals, a cancer centre and an Urgent Care Centre, serving the 2.3 million residents of Hamilton and South Central Ontario. With more than 600,000 annual patient visits and 8,000+ professional staff, transitioning from paper-based patient records to electronic ones is a huge challenge.


The challenge

HHSC needed a way to integrate the paper-based records with electronic records so that a comprehensive digital record was always accessible, anywhere, anytime to the care team. The hospital lacked the resources and expertise to digitize their paper records with so much of their focus on the development of electronic records.


The solution

HHSC outsourced their non-core health records processes, which included the preparation, scanning, indexing and quality control checks associated with scanning their paper patient records. Octacom was chosen as HHSC’s partner based on their experience and expertise in providing document management services requiring no capital investment.

Octacom was able to create a secure digital repository to archive HHSC’s patient information, virtually eliminating record filing space and allowing for remote chart completion and coding.


The results

Octacom provided a solution that bridged the gap between a paper and electronic record system. Now 6,000 users (800 physicians and 5,200 healthcare professionals) can work in a fully electronic environment.

Each day 30,000 pages of paper patient records are converted, with tight turnaround times and high-quality output. These images are integrated with the electronically created records to create a comprehensive digital patient record that can be viewed anywhere, anytime but authorized users. More than 100,000,000 pages of critical patient information have been converted and uploaded to date.

Octacom delivers all images within 24 hours of receiving them from all of the HHSC locations. Emergency Room records are available within 6 hours; same day surgery records are available in 12 hours and inpatient records are available within 24 hours.

With Octacom as their partner, HHSC’s Health Records Department has become a “department without walls”. Coders now work off-site, often from home, as they don’t need to be where the paper records are generated. Additional space has been created for clinical activity.

Octacom also installed software, redesigned records workflow and business processes, redesigned and standardized patient forms and facilitated system to system feeds for online clinical information. Octacom trained HHSC staff, provided project and change management expertise and shared best practice models.

The solution has allowed for enhanced efficiency and productivity and has saved the hospital millions of dollars in operating costs.

HHSC is now also working with Octacom to manage their human resources and finance records.

These positive results led to the introduction of similar solutions at the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, the hospitals of the Niagara Health System, Haldimand War Memorial Hospital in Dunnville, as well as for numerous other community-based healthcare organizations and providers.


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