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What is Medical Document Processing?

Medical document processing is the process of storing, filing, and maintaining this information.

Published on:
November 25, 2022

For every patient a physician sees, they generate a paper trail of records, scans, test results, and medical opinions. Medical document processing is the process of storing, filing, and maintaining this information. Since users of these documents are legally and ethically required to keep them safe, accessible, and private, medical document processing is an important — and often overlooked — part of the healthcare industry.  

Processing medical documents is an extensive task. Even going to the doctor for a sore throat adds to the documentation in a patient’s medical file, so when it comes to more complicated assessments or claims (whether it’s for disability, insurance, or worker’s comp), there’s plenty of work to be done. Medical documents are usually unstructured, which means they often need to be processed by hand. This means summarizing, organizing, and reporting on the contents of medical documents, as well as avoiding duplication. 

What does medical document processing look like?

Doctors, lawyers, insurance experts, claims examiners and other professionals all need access to these medical documents. However, these professionals bill by the hour, which means speed of access is a major factor. Medical document processing is necessary for making this access easy, so highly paid professionals don’t have to spend time searching for the file or document they need.

Although technology can be used to improve the process, it doesn’t replace the need for a trained employee or ‘human touch’ in order to get things right. Paralegals, administrative staff, independent medical evaluators, or other employees tasked with maintaining medical documents will find the work detail and time intensive. A changing claims environment, more remote workers, and high turnover can all make their jobs feel more difficult. 

How has medical document processing evolved?

With 40% of insurers looking for more efficient tech, artificial intelligence has stepped in to fill the gap. The emergence of new technology means the process of processing medical documents is starting to change. AI powered tools can automatically index, search, tag, organize, and delete duplicates.

While this doesn’t remove the human element entirely — the unstructured nature of medical documents means final touches and customizations will still need to be done by hand — it does take away some of the more time consuming tasks. In one case, an organization found that document processing could be done 70% faster with Wisedoc’s AI-powered technology. Cost-wise, this meant savings enough to cover the cost of a full-time employee. In another, a medical records review organization found that using Wisedocs could automate up to 90% of its repetitive workflow. 

Industry experts are on the same page: a report by Deloitte suggests that technological advancements in fields like AI can free up claims adjusters and managers for higher value work. By providing enhancements to document processing and a speedier way to work through claims, AI frees up employees time to focus on customers

Why is improving medical document processing important?

With new tools available to make processing medical documents faster, organizations like law firms, insurance companies, and independent medical evaluators are not only able to scale — reducing the resources required to process each claim — they can also provide better and faster outcomes for their clients. 

Patient medical histories are not the same as tax files or financial reports. The data inside of them is personal, and insurance settlements, disability filings, or workers compensation claims often come in the aftermath of a serious accident or life-changing injury. In situations like these, time is of the essence when it comes to processing a claim. In one study, veterans who received disability benefits had better clinical outcomes when treating PTSD — but the researchers suggest that these benefits may be time dependent, since being denied disability and awarded it later seemed to negate the impact of receiving it at all. 

Faster processing for medical documents means better outcomes overall

Reducing paperwork doesn’t just cut your costs: it can also provide a more positive experience for employees, better utilize the professionals you work with, and improve the experience and outcomes of patients and their families. With almost every aspect of a medical or legal case requiring documentation, organization, and secure access, medical document processing isn’t just important to the healthcare industry — it’s essential!

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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