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Tackling a mountain of H1N1 consent forms

When millions of doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine became available in fall 2009, government officials had to figure out a way to handle the consent forms that each patient has to complete before receiving the shot.

The forms contain valuable demographic and health information that, once collected, had to be converted into a useable electronic format for insurance, reporting and statistical needs. Without a digital capture process in place, municipalities and private healthcare providers risked losing funds due to misplaced or inaccurate recipient insurance information. Government agencies, too, could lose important data regarding vaccine distribution and effectiveness.

With more than 100 million doses of vaccine available, states, municipalities and the private sector needed to develop a strategy to capture that vital personal and healthcare-related information. Adding to the challenge was the necessity to maintain patient confidentiality.

To handle the consent forms, Quality Associates (QAI)—a provider of large-scale document management, imaging and archiving solutions—implemented the H1N1 Flu Vaccine Forms Processing Service, using A2iA FieldReader, a toolkit that captures handwritten and machine-printed information from documents and forms.

QAI unveiled its solution to help the Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene,which was expected to receive more than 1.5 million forms, most of which were completed by hand in either English or Spanish. The forms were distributed at more than 1,800 sites in Maryland.

QAI worked with state officials to design a streamlined, easy-to-use form for each vaccine recipient to complete. The A2iA FieldReader provides proprietary artificial intelligence and image analysis capabilities, including intelligent word recognition (IWR), cursive handwriting recognition and other features.

As a result of the implementation, A2iA reports that forms were processed quickly and that the amount of data entry was less than anticipated. QAI’s faster, more efficient workflow has enabled the state of Maryland to capture the vital personal and health-related data, while still maintaining patient confidentiality, according to A2iA.

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