Accelerating Workflow Through the HIM Department Starts at the Point of Care

The HIM Director of a multi-hospital health system was challenged every day by their facility’s traditional medical record scanning process. The centralized process, where paper documentation was prepped, scanned, and indexed post-patient discharge in the HIM Department, did not provide access to a completely electronic patient chart for clinician use and negatively impacted the revenue cycle.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the health system made the decision to transition from their existing EMR to Epic. The new system would eliminate part of the paper patient record issue for the health system. However, the HIM Director knew that she would need to find an efficient solution to incorporate remaining paper documentation created outside of the EMR.

Implementing a Point of Care Medical Records Scanning Approach

In early 2013, the HIM Director met with Mike Stropp, Account Executive for EDCO® Health Information Solutions. They discussed a strategy to scan clinically relevant information pre-discharge, at the point of care, that would address the healthcare facility’s needs.

By using EDCO’s patented scanning and indexing technology, Solarity®, in a point of care scanning model, nursing assistants and information associates would simply drop all remaining paper documents on the hospital floors into scanners as soon as the paper documentation was presented and complete. Next, scanned documents would be electronically routed through Solarity’s proprietary document recognition engine for automatic indexing. Finally, documents would be quality checked for 99% or greater accuracy by EDCO’s centralized Document Review Team, based in Springfield, MO, before being sent back to the health system’s EMR in one hour or less.  Using EDCO’s model, this entire process would occur within one hour, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

After learning about EDCO’s solution, the HIM Director believed it was an innovative approach to turn relevant documentation around quickly to be utilized for patient care. The HIM Director was impressed by Solarity’s ease of use and ability to easily integrate with Epic and Perceptive Content.

The health system decided to utilize a “big bang approach” and implement Epic, Perceptive Content, and Solarity concurrently in March, 2014.  This approach meant that project planning and communicating with end users was critical to success. The team ran through every potential scenario to ensure that they felt completely prepared.

Medical Records Indexed in Less Than One Hour

Today, the health system is experiencing impressive results.

“EDCO offers a variety of innovative workflow options that are excellent cost-effective solutions to transition from scanning post-discharge to pre-discharge.”

By scanning and indexing remaining paper documents, such as those from outside the facility, using Solarity, the hospital is far exceeding its goal of a 24 hour or less turnaround time from receipt of the document. In fact, since implementing Solarity, turnaround time has averaged 40 minutes, which is a dramatic improvement from the post-discharge scanning model previously employed. Before implementing Solarity, turnaround time averaged 12 to 48 hours from patient discharge depending on the document type and facility. The guaranteed one hour turnaround time provided by EDCO also ensures the health system meets the requirement to maintain its HIMSS Level 7 status.

The health system has also been able to eliminate the revenue stream bottlenecks. According to the HIM Director, the accounts receivable workflow is as efficient as it has been in the past three years. To achieve these same results internally, the HIM Director would have required double the staff.

Additionally, physicians are pleased to be able to work from anywhere in the health system with a completely electronic patient chart. Before, documents not yet scanned would have to be hand-delivered, or faxed to the care provider.  Finally, the team members who scan documents are pleased with a more efficient and less time consuming process. The HIM Director attributes this to an easy-to-use interface, as well as a strong line of communication from HIM to clinical staff.

For hospitals in similar situations, the HIM Director had this to offer:

“It is critical to evaluate your organization and bring key stakeholders in early. A method that works for one hospital may not work for another. EDCO offers a variety of innovative workflow options that are excellent cost-effective solutions to transition from scanning post-discharge to pre-discharge.”