Why 2020 is the Year to Get Rid of Your In-House OCR Technology Software

Posted by Smart Data Solutions on July 28th, 2020
Smart Data Solutions

If you’ve been using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology software, then you understand the benefits of streamlining data capture and other workflows within your healthcare facility. OCR software can quickly and easily read any paper materials and automatically input the data into an electronic system for ease of use and better storage of patient forms. 

However, despite your OCR technology software helping you in many ways, it may not allow your business to run as efficiently as possible. Keep reading to discover why this may be the year to move away from using outdated, inefficient OCR softwares.

The Benefits of Using an Optical Character Recognition Software

Let’s start with all the beneficial things an OCR software has provided for you and your business. Optical character recognition has been around a lot longer than most people may think, having now evolved into a solution for scanning PDF documents into digital, editable docs — OCR has changed the way we do things. 

People outside of the healthcare industry use OCR, but we will stick with the benefits to healthcare facilities. In a world that has gradually been moving away from paper documents and manual data entry for years, OCR provided a solution to digitize every form, paper, note, etc. that comes through a facility. 

What kinds of forms can be processed using OCR technology?


The list of forms that can be scanned and digitized using OCR is a lengthy one. With advancements in AI and machine learning, forms can be input into your software using templates, and the forms that match up to the templates can be quickly and easily read, with reasonably high accuracy. 

More Advantages of Using an OCR Technology Software

There are several other advantages to using OCR software. First, and perhaps most importantly, is the elimination of manual data entry. Fast feeding flatbed scanners can produce a very high volume of documents and data at one time without any manual work. This also makes documents much more accessible to send via email or within electronic databases as everything is computerized and easily accessible. 

OCR software is often much more affordable than hiring someone, or multiple people, to do manual data entry. It can also be more accurate since people will almost always fall suspect to the inevitable human error. Using OCR software technology can also free up resources that are tied up with manual data entry, allowing them to do more substantial work within the business. 

hand at printer

The Downfalls of Using an Optical Character Recognition Software

Now, let’s get into the disadvantages of using outdated OCR technology software. I know we said a benefit was that software is cheaper than hiring people to enter the same amount of work manually, but the softwares themselves can end up being quite expensive for what you get in return. Plus on you add in the upkeep, training, and maintenance — it may not be the most cost-effective option for your specific business needs. 

Depending on the software and scanners you’re using, images can lose quality after scanned into the system. Poor quality image (PQI) can lead to errors down the road, especially if things get printed and re-scanned repeatedly. 

Unfortunately, many OCR softwares only work best for typed forms, as handwriting can be challenging to capture. Unless you have advanced OCR technology enhanced with AI and machine learning, your handwritten notes and patient forms may not translate well. 

What an OCR software captures may also be limited by how things are formatted. Anything with the wrong layout, font, barcodes, etc. could be incorrectly scanned, or fail altogether. The same goes for any forms with smudges, blurred font, or just poor quality. The scanner may not be able to read it properly, resulting in the need for manual data entry. 

No OCR software is 100% accurate, primarily due to issues like those listed above. Without masterful machine learning and artificial intelligence integration into these softwares, errors will occur. For example, a common error is reading 0s as Os, which would require a lot of additional manual work for quality assurance. 

What Outsourcing Your Electronic Data Capture Can Do For You

A more stress-free solution for automating your data capture workflow is outsourcing the work to a skilled OCR and data capture company. The problem with using an in-house OCR technology software is that if any issues arise, the system fails, or there are updates and training involved — you’re the one who has to handle it. If you want to streamline your workflow, Outsourcing is the way to go

Outsourcing to a data capture provider means you are getting more than what your OCR software was capable of. Despite the potential higher cost, you will gain a team dedicated to data capture for your specific business needs and improving technologies to make it even more accurate This new team will take care of any issue that arises and make suggestions for a better workflow. 

You will no longer need to be responsible for scanner jams, software updates, or manually entering documents that won’t scan. You could even eliminate staffing costs and additional overhead.

If you are weary of having an outside company handle this sensitive material and information, keep in mind that these data capture companies, particularly in healthcare, have received extensive training and certifications, such as HIPAA and other healthcare regulations. They conduct their audits and continually improve their processes to ensure secure patient information, as well as provide you with a  service level agreement to determine expectations. 


At Smart Data Solutions, we take security very seriously as we are HITRUST certified. We also have a dedicated team to ensure AI and machine learning continue to make data capture as efficient and accurate as possible. No OCR software can do that. 

This is the year to get rid of your outdated software, and contact Smart Data Solutions for your data capture needs. We can’t wait to get your data capture services off your plate, and into a more efficient, productive workflow. Contact us today!

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