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The Unhidden Costs of Reviewing and Organizing Medical Records by Hand

The true cost of manually organizing medical records isn’t always easy to see. Employee stress, increased chance of error, and slower processing times can all cost your business money but aren’t necessarily going to make a measurable impact on your bottom line. 

Published on:
November 13, 2022

The true cost of manually organizing medical records isn’t always easy to see. Employee stress, increased chance of error, and slower processing times can all cost your business money but aren’t necessarily going to make a measurable impact on your bottom line. 

However, there are some costs of manual record keeping you can measure! Paper, ink, and printing are direct inputs into the medical record keeping process. These might seem like a regular part of doing business over time, but the paperwork-heavy nature of medical records makes these small expenses add up. 

Even at pennies per page, maintaining hundreds of physical files makes a difference in how much it costs to run your business — and more often than not, that cost is more than pennies! Here are some of the (un)hidden costs of doing your medical recordkeeping the old fashioned way:

Printing Cost Per Page for Medical Record Reviews

Printed medical records require commercial printing equipment, which doesn’t always come cheap. While your printer, copier, or fax machine might be an up front expense, it will still need to be replaced and maintained over time. 

Although printers themselves can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, the real cost of paper recordkeeping is the maintenance. Buying printer ink, toner, and paper costs more than you think, and with detailed medical documents, that figure can increase even more.

To calculate the cost for printing each page in your medical office, you can use the following formula:

(price of your ink cartridge/the cartridge’s page yield) + the cost per sheet of paper = total cost per page

While it might seem like a lot of work to cost out printer paper, this formula can provide valuable insight into the efficiency of your office! Most commercial ink cartridges or printers will tell you the approximate page yield per printed page

However, this number is actually based on the industry standard of 5% page use, which is about the amount of text in a one paragraph email. When printing medical records or other lengthy documents, your page use will probably be more like 10% or even 30% per page

Cartridges for a common Lexmark office printer retail for anywhere from $280 to $330. On the lower end, 15000 pages costs around $0.02 cents per page. However, at 15% page use, which would be more applicable for a medical document, this goes up to $0.06 cents. Older printers that use less efficient machinery could cost even more.

It might not sound like much, but when you add in the cost of paper, which is another $0.02 cents per page (unless you’re buying in pallets, which come with their own set of costs!), this puts you up to $0.08 cents per page in materials alone

AI Medical Record Reviews Support Teams

The other big cost of manual medical record keeping is the amount of time it takes your staff to process the paperwork. Of course, office staff aren’t computers, and these numbers will vary but with remote work and digital tools supporting teams in all functions, why should medical record reviews be any different?

If you’re operating a fully in-person office in an industry where many of your competitors are remote, the cost or availability of quality talent could be under some strain. 87% of Americans would take a hybrid workplace if they were offered it, and employee stress from high volumes of work or the cost of mistakes leads to high levels of turnover in the medical and insurance industries as a whole.

As well, using artificial intelligence can support your team's mental health and prevent turnover and burnout. Support your independent medical record evaluators and other teams who interact with medical claims by offering a solution that makes tedious administrative work around medical record reviews quicker and more cost- and time-efficient.

Finally, human error is involved in detecting duplicate pages and page organization, which could mean going back and repeating the same task twice. Employees that process medical records can vary in their formatting style, technical ability, clinical understanding, and attention to detail. A jammed printer, a bad day, a co-worker on holiday or a new employee making mistakes can all impact how fast it is to process each page, as well as the overall accuracy of the work. 

AI Medical Record Reviews to Support Scale

While the cost of printer ink, paper, and labour might seem insignificant in comparison to the other, larger, costs of running a business, it makes a big difference to the efficiency of your operation as a whole. You can grow your business by generating more revenue, but if you continue to grow costs at the same time, you won’t be able to scale — and this is important.

In total, printing a single page can cost as much as $0.15 to $0.30 cents. With this system, more customers equates to more costs. Paper medical records can number well into the thousands, and printing, organizing, and documenting these records can mean hundreds of dollars per day. So not only is there an environmental cost to your physical paperwork, there’s also a big impact on your bottom line!

Wisedocs is the Solution for Medical Record Reviews

Virtual alternatives like Adobe can be used in place of a physical record system. However, these alternatives also have a cost, as well as introduce a delay in your workflow from the time it takes to process, scan, and manually organize each file. 

This ‘digital hurdle’ in your physical process might leave you thinking it’s easier to stay the course with paper documents. However, there are other ways to cut down on time, resources, and costs!

Introducing AI into your medical recordkeeping helps take documents digital without sacrificing the flexibility for human decision making or adding another step into your workflow. With your staff able to (accurately!) process more documents per hour, and without the $0.08 or more cost of materials for each page, investing in a tool to digitize this process can go a long way towards lowering your costs and helping your business grow. 

Kristen Campbell
Content Writer

Kristen Campbell is a freelance content writer based in Calgary. She has written for a wide variety of companies in the fields of healthcare, banking, and technology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing stories, reading stories, and going on long walks (to think about her stories).

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