Background Hospital pharmacists often waste much time in sorting, labelling, storing and searching pharmacy's documentation.
Purpose To describe a new software application that reduces the time spent sorting documents out, paper waste and physical space for storage, and also allows a fast and efficient document review and control while contributing to a more sustainable environment.
Materials and methods Yerbabuena Software and our hospital pharmacy have been developing a software application based on intelligent document management called ‘Paperless Hospital Pharmacy’ (PHP) since March 2011. Intelligent document management is the application of semantic technology. This involves three improvements: automatic document classification, Intelligent Character Recognition instead of Optical Character Recognition, and automatic extraction of relevant information from any document.
Results The following types of documents were managed through PHP: delivery notes, invoices, standard operating procedures, requests for inclusion of drugs, medical reports, prescriptions, health warnings and drug approvals. PHP allows multiple information inputs: scanner, email, or directly from the application. Therefore there is no need to print or copy the documents, and the authors save time, paper and space. Typed text, barcodes or any other common codes in healthcare are recognised properly. The system automatically assigns tags to the documents and stores them. They can be searched quickly and easily through a web interface. Searches can be performed by the preassigned tags or by any term in the document. Information is always available, and the authors avoid losing it. Duplicated documents can also be filtered and removed. The authors estimate saving 6 h monthly in archiving and also 38 h in searching for documents with a daily average of 80 patients. PHP can also organise the workflow: The authors can review, approve or sign documents collaboratively in a more efficient way. If a parameter is not satisfactory at any stage, the document returns to a previous one to be reviewed. Secure online access to documents throughout the process is guaranteed.
Conclusions PHP, presented here, provides an efficient and eco-friendly software for document management to worldwide professional pharmacists.
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