Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 28, 2023

Ways PDF Compression Is Boosting Hospital Performances

The healthcare industry has always been a vital pillar of society, tasked with the enormous responsibility of maintaining the health and well-being of populations. However, one aspect that has long been a challenge in this sector, particularly in hospitals, is the management of vast amounts of patient records.

For decades, these records have predominantly been maintained in physical form, leading to cumbersome storage and retrieval systems that lack efficiency and pose the risk of data loss. Every patient visit, diagnosis, treatment, and note was jotted down on paper and filed away in enormous filing systems. Keeping track of it all was a time-consuming endeavor. The space to store it all was a premium for city hospitals, and record rooms housed hundreds of thousands of files.

Considering US hospitals are already struggling significantly, anything that gives them a performance edge must be taken seriously. With the advent of digitization and PDF compression, there seems to be a beacon of hope.

In this article, we will discuss ways PDF compression is boosting the performance of US hospitals.

What is Digitization?

Before we dig deeper into the role that PDF compressor tools can play, let's look at what digitization really means in a hospital context. The aims here are quite profound, as increased productivity in these environments saves lives.

Digitization involves scanning physical documents and converting them into digital files, typically in PDF format. While this is a substantial improvement over paper records, it comes with its own set of challenges. One primary issue is that high-quality scanned documents can result in large file sizes, which can be cumbersome to store and slow to open or transmit electronically.

Free to use and eternally useful, PDF compressor tools can be utilized to shrink file sizes in seconds by as much as 99%. They're used by leading businesses and brands to make emailing, sharing, and storing data easier and more efficient. Users can tinker with different compression levels, and the programs can also be used to re-encode heavy images and remove repetitive patterns. The quality of the files is preserved, but the PDF is lighter.

Consequently, PDF compressors make digitization more feasible. Everything else follows from there. 

Improved Data Management and Accessibility

One of the most significant advantages of digitizing physical records is the improvement in data management and accessibility. Compressed PDF files can be indexed and searched much more efficiently than physical records, reducing the time it takes to find a specific file or piece of information.

Let's visualize a scenario. A doctor needs to access a patient's past medical history quickly. In the old system, a request would have been made to the records department, someone would have to physically locate the file amongst thousands of others, and then the file would need to be hand-delivered to the doctor (yes, there was probably a lot of running involved). This process could take minutes to hours, depending on how organized and efficient each hospital was.

With digitized records, however, the doctor could simply type the patient's name into the system and instantly have access to the necessary records. Because files have been PDF compressed beforehand,  more storage capacity gets utilized, which means more patient files can be quickly searched and downloaded.

Better Working Conditions

Let's not forget that hospitals can be immensely pressure-filled environments for staff. It's not just doctors feeling the grind; nurses, receptionists, and janitors – they all play crucial roles in maintaining a healthy work environment that runs like a machine.

Of course, with digitization, that 'machine' element is less a metaphor and more a reality today. Still, if hospital staff can access the records they need quickly, it may be able to help them manage a more balanced workload. With that comes rates of greater job satisfaction, which means staff amass experience, inject more passion into their roles, and stick around in their respective fields longer.

In 2021, it was reported that healthcare workers felt increasingly burned out, so these problems are very real. Still, PDF compression tools can help to create better working conditions, minimize distractions, and help hospital workers feel empowered to produce their best work – and ultimately better equipped to look after those in need.

Enhanced Security and Data Protection

In an era where data breaches are becoming increasingly common, the security of patient records is paramount. PDF compression also plays a vital role in this aspect.

Digitized records can be secured using a variety of measures, such as encryption, password protection, and access controls. Compressing these records doesn't compromise these security measures. Thus, hospitals can not only maintain efficient records but also uphold patient confidentiality and comply with regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Compressed PDFs can still retain embedded watermarks or electronic signatures, adding an extra layer of authenticity and security to the document. These features make it ideal for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive patient data.

Moreover, when users compress PDF files, the process is done with full TLS encryption for secure document processing. So, there are no vulnerabilities even in the fleeting few moments when PDF compression is underway. There's not a single weak link in the chain here.

Healthier Prospects

Finally, one cannot ignore the environmental benefits of digitizing and compressing records. The amount of paper that hospitals use for record-keeping is astronomical.

Hospitals can significantly reduce their paper usage by utilizing digital records more quickly and efficiently. In turn, they help to promote environmental sustainability, which can bolster everybody's health as well! This could be done by:

  • Reducing patients' exposure to allergens (paper can accumulate mold, dust, and numerous other allergens).
  • Reducing the risk of strain through manual labour – Repeatedly carrying stacks of papers can strain the body, leading to musculoskeletal problems, such as back pain, neck pain, and repetitive strain injuries.
  • Reducing the number of trees being felled – The less paper is used, the fewer trees need to come down. Cleaner air is assured from conservation efforts too!

Of course, PDF compression doesn't solely achieve all of this. However, its use makes a stronger case for digitization and is part of a wider strategy to bring efficiencies to workplaces and promote eco-friendly processes. Once its full potential is utilized, a knock-on effect can follow.

Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


FREE eNewsletter

Click here to receive your targeted Healthcare Technology Community eNewsletter.
[Subscribe Now]