For one of the largest health systems in the northeast, the implementation of Epic’s electronic medical record (EMR) system was a large-scale, strategic initiative. The project’s goals were to improve the quality of patient care in the network, meet meaningful use requirements, and create a truly electronic medical record environment. After launching Epic, the facility saw a dramatic decrease in the paper remaining in the patient chart, but due to documents such as consent forms and documentation from outside the facility, a portion of the paper chart still remained.
Prior to the Epic implementation the healthcare system scanned 7 million images per year. Post-implementation, that number dropped to approximately 4.3 million. Of the types of documents that still existed in paper form, approximately half were required for patient care at the time they were created, or presented by the patient.
When indexing at the point of care, users found it challenging to consistently select the correct document type from among over 800 choices.
The initial plan was to scan and index the most critical documents that still existed in paper form on the hospital floor, and at the healthcare systems numerous offices and clinics. However, when indexing at the point of care, users found it challenging to consistently select the correct document type from among over 800 choices and maintain a quick turnaround time. Additionally, they found it difficult to achieve the level of quality the healthcare system had come to expect from its centralized scanning operation without the burden of excessive overtime costs.
The entire process was particularly taxing for over 750 acute and ambulatory personnel who were required to scan and index documents to each patient chart individually, one page at a time.
A Vision to Optimize the Epic EMR System
The healthcare system had a vision to optimize the potential of the new EMR system, and began working on a plan to do so as part of their Epic optimization process. They required a solution to the cumbersome steps involved in the current point of care scanning and indexing process.
It was identified that scanning the documents in large batches at the point of care, and indexing the documents centrally would dramatically improve indexing quality, and significantly decrease cost. Having already partnered to scan records centrally at patient discharge, the system’s CIO approached EDCO® Health Information Solutions with the goal of scanning and indexing all documents at the point of care in one hour or less, with 99% or greater accuracy. The new medical record scanning and indexing model also needed to integrate seamlessly with the Epic platform.
The healthcare system trained over 750 users on a simplified process to batch scan the medical records on the floors and at clinics.
Using EDCO’s batch scanning software, the healthcare system trained over 750 users on a simplified process to batch scan the medical records on the floors and at clinics. After the documents are scanned at the point of care, they are routed to EDCO’s centralized indexing staff in Springfield, Missouri. EDCO leverages the power of Solarity® technology to automatically index the document, confirm scan and index accuracy, and deliver the indexed document back to Epic within one hour. To streamline the clinicians access to patient information, and better manage the facility’s specific document types, the CIO also requested expanded document descriptors be added to the index process. These descriptors allow for physicians to locate specific documents within the Epic system.
Medical Record Indexing Error Rate Decreases Dramatically
Since partnering with EDCO to scan at the point of care in March of 2013, the healthcare system is enjoying a more streamlined health information management process. The redesigned workflow has improved the productivity of people who scan documents at the point of care, and has ensured the quality, consistency, and timeliness of scanned documents filed within the electronic medical record.
Since centralizing indexing in March of 2013, the healthcare system has experienced the following improvements:
- Indexing error rate has decreased from 38% to 0.03%
- All documents that existed in paper form are now available in the facilities EMR electronically within one hour of scanning for patient care
- 40% reduction in cost
- Clinical staff is more satisfied because the time-consuming indexing burden has been removed and the time to scan has been reduced from 1.5 minutes/page to 6 seconds/page
- Patient care has improved because physicians can easily locate the necessary documents during a patient’s visit.
Adoption by physicians expanded rapidly in the centralized indexing model. To learn more about scanning medical records at the point of care and centrally indexing, watch this video now.