Monthly Archives: November 2013

NHS launches price comparison website

The health care industry is an expensive business because paying for disposable items, vaccines and imaging equipment adds up very quickly. As a way to reduce hospital errors and streamline operations, many nations have implemented document management programs to organize patient health information.

In the United Kingdom, specifically, a recent study from the Policy Institute found that the government could be doing more to improve the bottom line by relying less on hard-copy records and moving toward electronic processes.

Around the same time, the National Health Service (NHS) announced that it would be the first government agency to move toward paperless solutions—hoping to be entirely paperless by 2018. Based on information that was released in its study, the NHS decided that it was necessary to attack waste within inventory first.

"The government is putting an extra £12.7 billion, [$20.4 billion] into our NHS but that money needs to be spent much more wisely by local hospitals," U.K. Health Minister Dan Poulter said in the statement. "When our NHS is the single biggest organization in the UK, hospitals must wake up to the potential to make big savings and radically change the way they buy supplies, goods, services and how they manage."

Now, administrative staff members at hospitals and doctor offices across the nation will be able to access a comprehensive, price comparison website that the NHS built. This measure is meant to decrease spending up to 50 percent, Supply Management Magazine explained.

Time and again, office supplies are taking up a larger part of the hospital's order forms, when the priority should be given to medical supplies that are pertinent to patient care.

Though inventory management may not play a large role in how physicians provide patient care, it still takes up a significant portion of many practitioners' budgets. Using business process software can be utilized here to report what medical supplies are needed the most.

How Beth Wolff Realtors used electronic document management to maximize efficiency

Businesses that want to increase their reach, while keeping documents in order, can benefit from the use of electronic document management. These programs allow organizations to improve overall work efficiency. At one Houston, Texas-based company, going paperless made the ultimate difference.

Beth Wolff Realtors recently celebrated being in business for 35 years, but Wolff herself found that her success would not have been possible without the support of her family, collaborations and paperless office solutions. Beth Wolff Realtors was the first business in Houston to allow electronic transactions, after all.

What started as a local real estate company for sellers and buyers within the southeastern Texas city became an organization that helped individuals and families through the moving process. Regardless of their life-alternating circumstance, Wolff's employees made sure "the home-buying or home-selling process [was] a positive one," the Houston Chronicle reported.

Wolff's expertise with zoning and real estate planning helped the city build the Quality of Life Coalition and a Habitat for Humanity Chapter. After working with a variety of committees on projects, Beth Wolff Realtors eventually became an affiliate of Hathaway Homes Services—a company that is backed by Warren Buffet. 

Real estate companies under Home Services are proven to respect "the magnitude of the real estate transaction to clients' lives," helping corporations of all sizes within the United States and around the world to transition to their new headquarters.

Wolff's knowledge of industry-leading trends and technologies have helped her meet many milestones in 35 years and she plans to continue to help her team be a leading realtor. Despite having so many projects, her business process software served as a great advantage to making Beth Wolff Realtors different from the competition.

Air Canada reduces debts with paperless pilot manuals

Commercial airlines around the world are trying to improve their bottom line with fees and additional amenities for their passengers, but not all debts can be recovered by the passenger. Air Canada is making a complete 180-degree change between now and 2019. The company's efforts include using lightweight paint on the body of the airplanes and replacing paper pilot manuals with tablets.

Though the manuals seem to be a small change to reduce Air Canada's cost, it is expected to save them at least $3 million per year.

On some of Air Canada's longer flights, there could be as many as four pilots on board, with each of them carrying the 35-pound manual — that's an additional 140 pounds to the aircraft. Tablets on the other hand, are only about one pound each and allows airplane operators to receive the most up-to-date materials without adding or throwing away pages from the paper manual.

Switching the paint that covers the aircraft is going to make the jet anywhere between 1,100 to 1,700 pounds lighter, which should help lower fuel costs. When jet fuel alone accounts for 30 percent of the organization's budget, any change is essential.

About a year-and​-a-half ago, Air Canada experienced many financial hardships, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu told the Globe and Mail that the company is working toward "sustainable profitability." 

"It's a much more efficient process," Rovinescu explained.

Air Canada already implemented iPads into its Sky Regional airplanes and other affiliates within its parent company as a way to work toward a more paperless office. With these minor changes and some other alternatives like buying wider planes, Rovinescu hopes to reduce the price per average seat mile by 15 percent.

United Way chapter donates money to promote paperless initiatives

Medical facilities across the nation have began using more paperless office solutions, but not every practice has the resources to implement these processes. Though federal funding is available for offices that want to work toward digitizing their medical records, the United Way of Central Florida has made it easier for three, non profit health centers.

The grant was given to help increase document sharing between Tri-County Health Services, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine Clinic and the Peace River Center, an organization that helps people with substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, according to the Ledger.

Many residents in the Hardee and Polk counties are uninsured and cannot afford to receive health care from traditional doctor offices. Non profit organizations like Peace River are only able to continue their services with financial backing.

"Electronic medical records can reduce duplication of services, and help facilities track the consistency of care for their patients," United Way's press released explained.

For many years doctors have relied on filing cabinets and folders to organize patients' medical histories, but this system has been proven to be inefficient, causing severe mistakes for patients who have to go through additional procedures to remedy a doctor's mistake,

Tri-County plans on using its share of the $71,000 gift to install an internet connection, allowing for connectivity with other facilities that already have electronic health records. Peace River plans on using their funding to enhance their electronic document management system by enabling practitioners to input health data wirelessly, use tablets and secure mobile devices.

Why electronic document management works for businesses

Businesses that want to improve their bottom line and increase an employee's overall productivity know that electronic document management systems are an option, but some staffers are reluctant to break old, paper-based habits that are more expensive over time.

For example, some colleges and universities charge their students to print. According to a study from Oki Systems, about 45 percent of respondents are printing an average of 10 pages per day. 

"[I]t's frustrating to see this wastage when, by taking expert advice from a managed document solutions provider, gaining control and adopting some straightforward measures, organizations can cut their printing costs by up to 30 percent," Graham Lowes, OKI's United Kingdom marketing director, said in the press release.

Whether the file was for personal or professional use, workers are able to complete many more tasks with business process software. Files can be shared, viewed and downloaded without needing to press the print button once. AIIM's recent study also found that participants are printing documents and rescanning them back into the system to be archived for later use. Instead of wasting time and paper, companies can utilize e-signature applications to avoid this process altogether. 

"Many capture systems have been implemented as a single-point solution, each feeding a single process application." This issue could be solved with a "standard capture platform feeding multiple applications," AIIM researchers wrote.

Switching toward these solutions is a manageable process, but it is essential first that the IT department explains to the organization that the switch will take some time. Even when the transition is complete, colleagues are encouraged to use the system on a daily basis to ensure that the files are up-to-date and accessible.