Paper still stacks up as a burden to healthcare organizations

Even with increased implementations of EHR systems, many healthcare organizations are not decreasing their reliance on paper-based processes, according to a new survey from Anoto, which develops digital pen and paper technology.

More than half of the survey respondents said paper is still a primary source for tracking information within their organizations’ daily activities. Respondents noted that paper is still too embedded in the culture, that technology adoption is too expensive and that switching to an electronic system requires too much training and disrupts care delivery.

In addition, survey respondents predicted that the paperwork burden would increase with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Other key findings from the survey:

  • Sixty-three percent of respondents said they spend anywhere from 25 percent to more than 75 percent of their time at work drafting or processing paperwork.
  • A large majority – nearly 80 percent – are still using paper records, despite either having or currently implementing an EHR system.
  • Seventy-eight percent of respondents believe the ACA will either increase the amount of paperwork they will have to deal with or it will, at best, stay the same.


Notwithstanding the preponderance of paper in healthcare, however, almost 90 percent of survey respondents with an active EHR system said the technology improves patient care.

Anoto officials said interest in digitizing paper-based processes is high. Respondents were asked – on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest – whether they would be interested in using a solution (such as Anoto technology) that would allow them to digitize information instantly while still using the paper forms they have always used. Nearly 50 percent of respondents rated their interest as an eight or higher.

“The survey results are clear: Healthcare remains a paper-driven industry and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future,” said Pietro Parravicini, senior vice president area manager Americas for Anoto.

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