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Digitization vs Electronification…What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between digitization and electronification?  Many believe that the process and purpose are basically the same. We are here to clear up that misconception.

What is Digitization?

Let's first take a look at digitization. According to an article at, Gartner IT Glossary defines digitization as:

"Digitization is the process of changing from analog to digital form" – contrary to the popular believe that digitization is the changing of a process from manual or paper-based, into an online experience.

In essence, the process of digitization takes paper-based items, and turns them into 1's and 0's. There are many variations to this, depending on the type of files and data you are referencing. In the field of healthcare, we are talking about paper...transactions, documentation, coding, etc. Digitization can be accomplished through optical character recognition (OCR) technologies utilizing algorithms or artificial intelligence software performing a recognition function.

What is Electronification?

Now let's take a look at electronification.

Electronification is a much more than just the conversion of analog items into digital. While it incorporates elements of digitization, electronification pertains to the automation process.

Payment Reconciliation gif

As an example, when a paper-based or pdf-originated document is "electronified," it means artificial intelligence or perhaps machine learning technologies converted the document into digital, but also interpreted the data and finalized the process.

When to Use Digitization or Electronification

For the healthcare industry, we seen heavy usage of digitization for patient care, especially when adding notes to patient files or patient management systems. This is not limited to just handwritten notes either, as new technologies are transcribing verbal notes. There are even apps that allow doctors to record a patient visit, and provide information for the patient to understand and ensure they are following the doctor's recommendations!

Electronification is utilized for automation of processes, especially in revenue cycle management. Take, for instance, processing paper-based remits/EOBs/EOPs. The typical manual process is labor intensive, involving receiving the items, sorting, and manually processing and entering the information into the PMS/HIS system.

Through electronification, the documents are scanned and routed to artificial intelligence with deep learning models to extract, interpret, and output the data into an EDI 835 file output for auto-posting into a PMS/HIS system.

Click the image above to watch the video.

To learn more about electronifcation technologies for RCM, we welcome you to join OrboGraph's healthcare payment and remittance half day conference. Check out the ORBOIMPACT Technology Conference on October 29, 2020!

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