The Cost of Paper Records

by Larry Emmott on March 7, 2017

in Management,Paperless

A few people still maintain that old fashioned paper records are less expensive than digital paperless records. But that is simply not true.

Paper charts don’t just appear in the office for free. The paper folder and all the other papers cost about $4.40 each. If you have 3000 charts they cost you at least $13,200 to create and every time a new patient walks in it’s another four-forty; cha-ching.

Other chart contents, like x-rays can be even more costly. A set of bitewings with film, processing and mounts costs about $2.00. Three sets of bitewings adds $6.00 to the cost of each chart for these contents adding another $18,000 to the cost.

Storing the records isn’t free either. A typical office with 3000 charts will need three or four full size lateral files to hold them all. Depending on how nice the files are they will cost about $4,000 and could be a lot more. They will take up office space. A 10’x 5′ file room will cost $7,500 to build. That is 50 Sq. Ft at $150 per foot. Not to mention all the “inactive” charts stashed away somewhere else?

So far our inexpensive paper files are costing us $42,700, but that’s not the total cost. There is the human effort to make the chart, type the label, arrange the contents, file new bits when they arrive in the mail, write the notes, pull the charts every day and then re-file them. And of course there is the daily ritual of the lost chart, which no one can find only to have it turn up days later either misfiled or hiding in a stack on the doctor’s desk. The human cost is at least $13,800 per year. You also have the expense of renting the office space the file cabinets sit on, at $25 per Sq, Ft for $1,250 per year. (Double that if you are in New York or San Francisco)

What we have is a paper chart system that is really quite expensive costing $42,700 to create and $15,050 per year to maintain for a total of $57,750.

On the other hand a great digital management system including radiographs, the computers and network will cost about $30,000. Need some help? Look Here.

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