Health Information Management

Ask the expert: What is the difference bewteen hybrid records and document imaging?

HIM-HIPAA Insider, May 15, 2007

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A:You are probably not alone in your confusion. I think the disconnect occurs because document imaging is often the starting place for facilities as they migrate to a hybrid record. It's one of the most visible and obvious components of the hybrid record. Hospitals will start with a scanning solution and then move toward more advanced capabilities and functionalities as they succeed with scanning. Unfortunately, some facilities stop there and get so comfortable that they don't move forward. It's not uncommon for people to think that imaging and hybrid records are synonymous. In reality, hybrid records go far beyond imaging. Hybrid records include records the hospital keeps in its system, such as clinical records (e.g., nursing notes). Hybrid records also include

  • data the hospital receives via an interface
  • lab records and radiology reports
  • picture archiving communication system images (also known as PACS)
  • computer output to laser disk feed data (also known as COLD feed) 
  • various other parts of the paper record

The confusion stems from the fact that the most common type of hybrid record is one that has document imaging at the core.

Editor's note: Michael Cohen, MM, FHIMSS, president of MRC Consulting Group in St. Charles, IL, answered the following question in the February 2007 issue of Electronic Health Records Briefing. To read on,click here.



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