Officemate: ECR Vault vs. eDocuments - An quick, unbiased review

A few months ago, an office that I work with converted over to ECR Vault.  This office was strictly using eDocuments, a multifunction printer, and a PDF printer to archive all their new documents.  But because this office has been in business for 20+ years, their previous paper records were not being archived into eDocuments because of the sheer number of paper files that needed to be scanned and the turtle-paced multifunction scanner that scans at a mere 4 pages a minute.

ECR Vault's high speed scanner and archiving system is perfect for offices looking for a system to archive and retrieve large amounts of paper (and small amounts too).  But whether or not everyone needs it, that really depends on a few factors.  First let me go over the pros and cons of each.

Officemate eDocuments
Pros:

  • Built-in to eDocuments - no additional cost
  • Simple - the eDocuments section is basically a shortcut to the folder: O:\Omate32\Data\eDocuments folder.
  • Flexible - because eDocuments is just a shortcut to any document type, all documents being archived can be changed/edited and saved.  This is perfect for adding electronic signatures to PDF documents, editing previously scanned documents, or marking up retinal imaging.

Cons:

  • Slow to scan using a most TWAIN compatible scanners or multifunction printers.
  • Categorization - of each added item is slow (in comparison) and each additional category will need to be scanned separately which drastically adds to scan time.
  • Not user friendly - since eDocuments is basically a shortcut to a folder, archiving scanned items, images, or pdf files usually requires navigating through windows folders and the shared networked drives.


ECR Vault
Pros:

  • User friendly - A simple 1-2-3 step interface
  • Categorization - In addition to Officemate's default categories, you have 
  • Additional features to improve office flow in ExamWriter - New document alerts, color categorized.
  • Fast - Scan up to 50 pages a minute, fast single click categorization.
  • PTA Printer - The print to archive printer allows you to archive directly to ECR Vault without going through a third-party PDF exporter.  Perfect for exporting pretesting equipment not supported by Officemate or archiving insurance authorizations.

Cons:

  • Slow speeds for retrieval (on older systems) - Because this program has it's own database (and also piggybacks off of Officemate), it is slower on systems that meet the minimum system requirements.  To launch the retrieval program usually takes 10-20 seconds to load.
  • Files are final - You cannot edit an archived item.  It is impossible to make changes in files like PDF, Word, etc.  
  • Restricted to their proprietary hardware - Using a TWAIN compatible scanner is not "officially" supported by ECR Vault, so you are limited to one high-speed scanner. 
  • Limited to the amount of retrieval and scanning stations - Typical packages are sold at 5 retrieval licenses and 2 scanning licenses at a time.  This is fine for smaller offices, but for offices with more than two doctors and more than 4 opticians may experience problems.

Conclusion
Each style of archiving has it's pros and cons. Generally speaking, this would be my recommendation: for new doctors who do not have a patient base and are pretty tech savvy, working with eDocuments would be very practical.  It's flexible with editing, and more importantly, included with Officemate.  For established practices, that wish to archive more than just exam records (which I don't recommend), ECR vault is perfect fit.  It is easy to archive and categorize different types of form types and doesn't require multiple steps discussed in my last post for archiving in eDocuments.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below.


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