Friday, September 14, 2007

The Hidden Costs of "Doing It The Old Way"

The task of distributing reports is such a tedious, thankless job that it is usually assigned to a low-level clerk. Not only do the people performing this task lack strong computer skills, such "information workers" are frequently overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work dumped on their shoulders (if low-level employees had stronger computer skills, they would be holding down higher-paying jobs).
What is the cost of performing this task "the old way"?

  • The hospital is paying for paper and toner supplies to print out extra copies.

  • It may also be paying the postage to mail out reports.

  • Depending on the hospital's census, this task might require anywhere from 20 to 50 hours per week from a fully-benefitted employee at a cost of $10 per hour. Taking a rough estimate of 30 hours per week at $10 per hour (plus the cost of paper and toner supplies), this task might cost a Medical Record Department $16,000 per year.

However, since most reports are now generated as electronic files, what would happen if we tried to sort, distribute, and transport the data in its native electronic format rather than in a paper (hard copy) format?

Suppose we wanted to use the computer to automate as much of the process as possible? How could it be done?

Next: Changing Media For Purposes of Faster and Better Distribution

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