PDF In-Depth

The PDF prescription for health care cost control

Setting the Terms for Change

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One can think in terms of two fundamental venues for technology contributions to "bending the curve" - slowing or reversing the trend towards higher costs:

Bridging technologies that can contribute towards integration of today's real-world systems. Examples include fax machines, document bar-codes and OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) systems to read "fill in the oval" forms.

End-State technologies that contribute to (more or less) idealized healthcare administrative operations. Examples include relational databases, encryption, digital signatures and standardization implemented at a high level.

Perhaps uniquely, PDF offers both bridging and end-state technologies all in one. What are the standout qualities of PDF with respect to these two venues in healthcare technology needs?

PDF seamlessly integrates content from both paper or electronic sources

Accommodating the messy reality of today's hand-filled forms and printed records is essential for any one size fits all electronic document technology. Happily, PDF pages produced from Word or Excel coexist on equal terms with pages produced from scanners or fax machines, and both enjoy the same portability, viewing options, linking, thumbnails, security, digital signatures and other features of PDF. Even 3D models may now be represented in PDF!

End-State: Integration of multiple sources and source formats into a verifiable documentary record is a key criteria for end-state solutions.

Bridging: The capacity to integrate scanned or faxed (or imaged, or plotted, or whatever) content together with other PDFs generated directly from authoring applications may be leveraged to increase efficiency in almost any system that utilizes (or merely accepts) PDF files.

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Back to the past, 15 years ago! Open Publish 2002

Looking back to 2002, it's amazing how much of the prediction became a reality. Take a read and see what you think!

September 14, 2017
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