5 Common File Management Problems and Challenges In Healthcare

Document and file management, or mismanagement rather, is often thought of as a technology problem or an efficiency problem, but ultimately it's a financial problem.

The healthcare industry is under intense pressure to improve quality of care while cutting costs at the same time—and there’s no foreseeable end in sight to the razor-sharp focus on the bottom line.

Document and file management, or mismanagement rather, is often thought of as a technology problem or an efficiency problem, and is quite often not identified for what it really is—a huge cost problem that every day is whittling away at your profitability. Putting file management problems into financial context gives you a startling look at the tremendous impact these issues have on your organization. On a daily basis, as many as five percent of an organization’s files are lost or misfiled. This inefficiency has disastrous financial effects; $14,000 in productivity per worker per year is spent on their inability to find the information they need to do their jobs.

As if that is not bad enough, misplaced documents lead to many unsavory downstream effects as well. Here are five particularly costly issues:


Misplaced files can wreak havoc on your ability to respond to the many required audits in our industry. Filing a document properly costs around $20, but finding a misplaced document costs six times more at $120. And if you never find the document you need for the audit, you’ll likely have to spend $250 to replaceit. Multiply these numbers across all your employees and the number of audits you have per year, and the cost can quickly spiral out of control.

Risk Reporting: 

The same is true for risk reporting. As a healthcare provider, your staff must be able to quickly cull the necessary information and report events that may compromise patient safety. Not being able to find the information affects your internal reporting as well as your external reporting to government and other required organizations.


If you can’t find the right file, then you can’t find the right code, and over time, misplaced files can have a huge detrimental effect on your ability to bill the right code and get the right reimbursements.

Data security: 

For patient-facing healthcare organizations, a misplaced or lost file may compromise your ability to secure your patient’s personal medical information and thus protect his or her privacy. If you can’t protect sensitive data, the integrity of your organization will be compromised. Your aptitude at securing data is also crucial to your ability to participate in ACA exchanges, Medicare and other programs. The OIG reports that more than 5,000 Medicare physician identifiers and nearly 300,000 beneficiary identifiers are known to be compromised, so get your document and file management under control!

Compliance issues: 

Misfiled and lost documents can wreak havoc on your ability to meet specific reporting requirements of the ACA and other organizations. This can also have an effect on your tax exemption status as well.

Professionals in healthcare spend half of their time searching for information, and more than half working with documents. Make sure you’re doing it efficiently and minimizing lost or misplaced files.