The Advantages and Disadvantages of Paper Records

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・9 Sources

Records management (RM) refers to the administration and supervisions of paper or digital records, irrespective of the applied format. The RM activities entail the reception, creation maintenance, application, and disposal of information. For the purpose of this paper, a record is a tool that keeps details of various business transactions. As a result, RM might apply to memos, contracts, electronic files, paper files, videos, reports, emails, database records or instant message logs. However, it is critical to note that paper records may at times be kept in a storage facility or on physical boxes within the premises. The debate on whether to store patients’ health data electronically or on paper is heightening as the application of technological knowledge improves. The above issue is up for discussion on different fronts since both electronic and paper records have weaknesses and strengths. As such, it is common to find various medical facilities maintaining filed documents which contain the historical information regarding a patient. Given the challenges resulting from paperwork, many individuals have come to argue against the approach of using hardcopy. Mostly, the method is seen to be an expensive proposition hence tempting healthcare facilities to change from the manual system to the digitalized way of storing data. The aim of this paper is to discuss the positive and negative impact of paper evolution on the healthcare sector. The positive Impact will majorly focus on the gains made in the healthcare field concerning the development of the 3DP. On the other hand, the adverse effects will mainly consider the negative impact of the use of paper in storing crucial patient information.

The Implication of Paper Evolution on Medical Field

The progression of paper documentation has affected the health sector significantly. Arguably, it made patient’s medical records to evolve into the most dependable source of data present to accomplish numerous functions and purposes. For example, many end users are trying to access the tips on physical fitness. Thus, it leads to raising the number of people requiring information in the physical condition, in a medical record and location (Turner and Janet 38). However, given the various use of paper in the healthcare facilities, the current events focus on phasing out the use of paperwork in the healthcare field and introducing the use of electronic health records.

The Positive Effects of Paper Evolution on the Healthcare Field

Storing of healthcare information in the paper has led to the establishment of mass printing such as 3D printing (3DP). Indeed, this publishing method is comparatively new, and it is expanding rapidly in different business fields. For instance, paper evolution knowledge is also used in the aerospace, automotive, and defense sectors thus, leading to mass printing. Likewise, this form of publishing is applied in medical field. According to Hu, Dan, and Shaowu, paper records have helped in improving the methods used in conducting surgeries, disruption of a prosthesis, and during the presentation of dentistry procedures.

In particular, 3DP is a modification of older inject laser copier, and the technique is currently expanding at a fast rate. As a result, this technology has led to the introduction of new printing materials and printers which offer innovative ideas as well as a novel, exciting applications. The relatively new bio-printing technology is conducting printing through the application of cells. However, 3DP is mostly applied in healthcare facilities to provide personalized healthcare services. On the other hand, the prostheses or implants are printed using 3D in a particular body part of the patient. As a result, this tactic has optimized the innovativeness of working for a person but not for average use as in the case of different mass-produced goods. As put forward by Turner and Janet, unlike some known instances of personalized remedy dealing with molecules of tablets and their similar active sites, the 3D application is precisely developed for coping with macro-scale patient’s needs. However, despite the known benefits of using paperwork to store information, the method has resulted in various inefficiencies and financial costs in the healthcare facilities.

The Utilization of 3D Printing in Dentistry

The initial industrial appliances of 3DP were done in the field of rapid prototyping. This technology was used in dentistry to manufacture personalized objects. Currently, the combination of 3D printing, dental labs, CAM/CAD design and oral scanning has facilitated production of bridges, coronets, rock/broadcast mock-ups, and numerous orthodontic machines including surgical aligners as well as directives. For instance, a 3D scan is taken, changed into a 3D model and being sent to print as a 3D image. Consequently, the printed model is applied to generate a full array of orthodontic machines, positioning and delivery trays, retainers and clear aligners. Furthermore, these can be kept conveniently and technologically as files of 3D CAD (Computer Assisted Design). The 3DP facilitates the process of digitizing the entire workflow, dramatically accelerating times of production and considerably heightening capacity of fabrication. Additionally, the 3DP enables people to eliminate storage of models and physical impressions (Kuhn, Thomson, et al. 303).

3DP is used in Bio-printing: Printing Living Cells through Application of Cells as Ink

The core objective of 3DP is to heighten supply of deliveries in the donor market’s organ. Otherwise, the contemporary achievements of this technology are modernized for they involve the application of “lab-on-the-chip.” The above model is a modern innovation that is mainly used for assisting in researching about the liver, toxicology and drug delivery. Indeed, the publication of bio-printing novelty which applies the cells has created rooms for 3Dbio-printed tissue replica (Tecu and Dozier 13).

The Evolution of Paper Records and the Creation of EKG/ECG

The evolution of paper recording has led to the invention has impacted the interpretation of heart rhythms through the application of Electrocardiography (EKG or ECG). The ECG is a process of recording heart activity over a given time through the use of electrodes consigned on the skin. Actually, these electrodes are capable of detecting tiny electrical variations that emanates from the electrophysiologic pattern of the heart muscle during repolarizing and depolarizing. This test is a standard diagnostic assessment used to determine the heart’s functioning. The ECG traces the organ’s electrical activity to a given extent, hence denoting whether there is a healthy circulation or flow of the blood. Moreover, this ordeal enables physicians to get a lucid depiction of the shape and size of the heart (Jacobus, Jeffrey and Paul 54). For example, during the use of conventional 12-lead EKG, the healthcare giver places ten electrodes on the patient’s limb as well as on the outer part of the chest.   The entire magnitude of the electrical potential of the heart is then assessed from 12 distinctive leads or angles and is recorded in different periods (usually ten seconds). Consequently, the entire direction and magnitude of the electrical depolarization of the heart are confined at every time in the overall cardiac cycle. Then a paper is used to draw a graph of voltages against time traced through a noninvasive medical process known as an electrocardiogram (Turner and Janet 39).

Use of 3DP in Developing Hearing Aids

Other than the application of 3DP in other scientific areas, the method can be applied in the health industry to produce hearing aids. The app has revolutionized the treatment methods applicable to individuals having hearing impairments. The 3D printing has facilitated the development of better hearing aids as well as improving the services offered by the manufacturers of the device (Dodziuk). Similarly, the evolution of paper, therefore, has significantly reduced the number of days it takes for the producer to develop an advanced hearing aid. Since the previous items required more attention in order to come up with a more comfortable hearing piece due to the nature of material used and the craftsmanship needed,

Use of 3DP in Learning

Students in the medical field largely depend on the use of the evolved paper for the theoretical studying of the various body parts and therapeutic procedures. As a result of the development of the 3D printing paper, the efficiency in training on the undertaking of medical procedures has been improved significantly (Izzo). For example, medical students nowadays use the Bio-texture Wet Model of the lung for the purpose of training thus facilitating a better understanding of the medical procedures that are critical in performing lung surgeries. Unlike the previous era where practicals were carried out using the real body organs, the evolution of paper into the 3DP has allowed for use of artificial parts. As such, it gives students the flexibility to do and redo a procedure till they master it.

The Application of 3DP in Surgical Planning

In addition to learning, the evolution of paper into the current 3DP has an application in the actual field of medicine. While students use the advanced paper technology in studying, doctors, on the other hand, use the technology to create the necessary body part to carry out a mock surgery in readiness to performing an actual surgical procedure. Fluoroscopy as known usually brings together surgeons for the purpose of determining the best approach to undertake an operation. As such, biomedical engineers have to create a reliable 3DP structure that represents an actual body part thus assisting the surgeons to develop the most appropriate plan for carrying out an actual operation. The procedure helps medical doctors to plan on how to conduct complicated surgical operations since the 3DP view enables for easy visualization of internal body organs. Therefore, for the purpose of increasing the chances of success in the procedure, doctors can rehearse on how to handle the surgery efficiently and thus reduce the likelihood of failure (Dodziuk).

The Paper Evolution and 3D Printed Prostheses

The society constitutes of individuals having various disabilities such as the deaf, the blind, and the handicap. With regards to disabled individuals, the 3DP papers are used to develop prostheses which are viewed to be better than the traditional ones. Moreover, they appear to be more real and are lighter thus encouraging more individuals to accept their usage. Despite not being natural, they can be customized in such a way that the limbs appear as real and can be tattooed just like natural skin. Similarly, the use of 3DP has helped to find medical solutions to individuals with facial deformities since the material making up the paper is less harmful unlike the traditional prostheses material (Dodziuk).

The revolution of Paper and Creation of Body Implants

Given the advancement in photography and body scans, the ability of prosthetic doctors to develop appropriate body implants for their clients has been improved. Thus, patients suffering from injuries that require replacement of body parts such as the spine, hip bone, or even the skull have greatly benefitted from the evolution of paper to the current 3DP. Since the doctors are specially trained for the purpose of helping such patient, the 3DP aids in the visualization and appropriate imaging of the implants for the purpose of accurate implant creation (Dodziuk). Thus, the entire population seems to gain from the evolution of paper.  Furthermore, Dodziuk states that the use of 3DP implants can further be used to treat arthritis and diabetes.

Paper Storage and the Quickened Dissemination of Medical Treatments

The application of paper records to store medical information is simple since this system does not require technical experience. Before the advancement of technology and the mandatory use of computers as devices for storing crucial patient data, healthcare practitioners hugely benefited from the use of paperwork as a means of keeping critical patient information. The manuscript filing system is therefore simple for everyone within the medical facility, and it also requires less skillfulness. Moreover, this method of storing data does not need user aptitude and knowledge; hence it is useful for those lacking technology-based training (Wager, Frances and John 124).

The application of paper records promotes the faster accessibility of crucial patient data. The nursing facilities and hospitals which apply paper records tend to retain patient’s charts in exceptional databases attached to the hospital. As a result, this system makes it possible for social workers, clinicians and variously authorized staffs to retrieve the patient’s details quickly. Thus, in case of medical emergencies, the healthcare givers do not need to rely on a computer or terminal through the application of multiple screens to access specific information about the client. Any data regarding a patient can be easily retrieved by the healthcare giver, and swift medical action can be taken once the patient’s history is reviewed. As put forward by Kalbarczyk and Christine, the filing system leads to efficiency as far as retrieval of client’s information is concerned.

The paper records are at times considered secure as compared to electronic ways of storing information. Depending on the data stored, the documents may be secured or self-doubting. Some individuals say that the collection of medical files is simple and incarcerates safely, whereas the technological systems are always susceptible to hackers. On the other hand, some unscrupulous persons may illegally access the place where information is stored and duplicate, steal or misplace the hard copies. Nevertheless, paper records do limit the number of persons who can obtain the information about a given patient. As a result, it is evidential that paper records are easier to enclose and there is less probability of them getting to the hands of unintended individuals (Berzansky, et al. 25).

The Disadvantages of paper evolution (3DP) on Healthcare Field

Cost is seen as a significant limitation for the regular use of 3D printing hence its application in healthcare services. According to Ventola, the cost of using 3DP in medical care is high. For example, organ transplantation rates have plateaued. As organs are being transplanted more are needed and are costly. Somehow during the process, there might be a mismatch of the organs, and it requires looking for a new one. A limitation occurs in the availability of the printing biomaterial for the most of applications. Also, lack of skilled labor needed for the production of the therapeutic strategies such as the prosthetics and other many 3DP materials are also costly. Moreover, the 3DP machines are too expensive to purchase. Some of the techniques performed are costly making it more expensive for patients to afford (Ventola).

Concerns Regarding Safety

3D printing has brought a significant concern for safety and security. The 3D printers have been currently being employed for theft cases, such as printing of illegal gadgets for example guns and gun magazines. The printers can illegally be used in the publication of ATM skimmers. These acts have shown that there is lack of proper control and regulation of the 3DP system. The 3DP could also be used in the substandard of medications and other related medical facilities. Even though the system cannot be banned, but it requires proper regulations to avoid these problems of safety. (Ventola).

In 2002, following a case of 3D printed handgun, several states in the US and other concerned legislators introduced the bill which would protect this technology. It would only be accessed by qualified and legally allowed individuals such as caregivers. Such fear-based policy agreements would bring about the culture of openness necessary for 3DP to excel. The ban could also make the 3DP technology to go down most so regarding medical and other scientific issues. There have been reports of "garage biology" which is under investigation and which might lead to innovations in the science world. However, it is being done in silence to avoid interference with the law enforcement even though the investigation is legal. (Ventola).

Difficulty in Access

Manufacturing of the applications of 3DP is regulated by industrial design, copyright, and the trademark law for decades. There is a limited experience regarding how the rules should apply to the use and access of the 3DP applications. There has been challenges in accessing the technology for when the 3DP technology is being located has no limitation to anybody whether an individual, nonprofit distribution or for the commercial use. The manufacturers do not provide legal protection for manufacturing processes, the composition of the matter and machines. To sell or even allocate a 3D printed version, a person would have to negotiate for the license with the apparent owner. Thus, the availability of this technology to all medical facilities worldwide is a challenge.


Other than the use of paper in providing storage facilities for client information, the use of 3DP has revolutionized the healthcare sector. Previously, the healthcare facilities only needed written documents in the recording and storage of clients’ data. However, with photography and the need for body scans, the use of paper in the hospital setting has changed. Currently, as much as the traditional paperwork used for the purpose of storing patient data is being phased out by the more reliable electronic healthcare records, the usage of 3DP in this field is just getting started. The comprehensive range application of the 3DP in healthcare services has significantly contributed to the positive effects of the paper evolution to the healthcare industry. Thus, despite the disadvantages arising from the application of the new technique, it is worthy to note that the positive effects of the evolution of paper outweigh the negativity that results from it.

Works Cited

Berzansky, Kristi Innocenti, et al. "Systems and methods for managing medical information." U.S. Patent No. 8,670,999. 11 Mar. 2014.

Dodziuk, Helena. "Applications of 3D printing in healthcare." Polish Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery (2016): 283-293. .

Hu, Fang, Dan Xie, and Shaowu Shen. "On the application of the internet of things in the field of medical and healthcare." Green Computing and Communications (GreenCom), 2013 IEEE and Internet of Things (iThings/CPSCom), IEEE International Conference on and IEEE Cyber, Physical and Social Computing. IEEE, 2013.

Izzo, Michael E. Springer. Richard L. "Advantages of 3D Printing in Healthcare." HealthManagement (2016). .

Jacobus, Charles J., Jeffrey C. Braun, and Paul Cobb. "Method for consolidating medical records through the world wide web." U.S. Patent No. 8,731,967. 20 May 2014.

Kalbarczyk, Tomasz, and Christine Julien. "SEMComm: Sharing Electronic Medical Records using Device to Device Communication." Middleware Posters and Demos. 2016.

Kuhn, Thomson, et al. "Clinical Documentation in the 21st Century: Executive Summary of a Policy Position Paper from the American College of Physicians Clinical Documentation in the 21st Century." Annals of internal medicine 162.4 (2015): 301-303.

Tecu, Kirk Steven, and Dozier, Mabry. Frazier. "Retrieval of the electronic document using hardcopy document." U.S. Patent No. 9,116,643. 25 Aug. 2015.

Turner, H. Spencer, and Janet L. Hurley, eds. The history and practice of college health. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

Ventola, C.Lee. "Medical Applications for 3D Printing: current and Project uses." 10 October 2014. 13 December 2017. .

Wager, Karen A., Frances W. Lee, and John P. Glaser. Healthcare information systems: a practical approach tohealthcare management. John Wiley & Sons, 2017.

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