As a leader in comprehensive cancer care, City of Hope National Medical Center is accustomed to handling large volumes of complex charts. Located in Duarte, California, this 217-bed healthcare facility provides specialized treatment to approximately 24,000 patients annually.
The patient volume, coupled with the size and complexity of charts provided by previous treatment facilities, caused an intense backlog in the hospital’s health information management department. Like many HIM departments, they often dealt with staffing challenges, which further complicated the issue.
Adrienne Beauvois, Senior Director of HIM at City of Hope, was frustrated by the problems.
“Scanning the records was relatively straightforward for my team. It was the steps before and after scanning which were challenging.”
“We spent a great deal of time prepping the documents for scanning as our process required separator sheets between each patient chart,” said Beauvois. “Indexing the charts was the most time-consuming step, and it was difficult to reach a reasonable turnaround time.”
With so much time spent prepping documents, the HIM department often had little time to quality check their work after the charts were scanned. Beauvois knew she needed to measure and report the productivity of her team members, as well as the quality of the work completed.
Solving the Medical Record Indexing Backlog
Beauvois searched for a solution that would allow her to solve the ongoing backlog issue and more accurately measure productivity and quality in the HIM department.
She met with Eric Olson, Account Executive for EDCO® Health Information Solutions, at City of Hope in early 2013. After viewing the capabilities of Solarity®, EDCO’s patented medical record scanning and indexing software, she was impressed by the automatic document recognition provided by the software. She was also intrigued by its ability to increase productivity in the department when combined with EDCO’s scanning and indexing processes. Beauvois immediately saw Solarity as a way to overcome her department’s obstacles.
Beauvois and City of Hope chose to implement Solarity, which would allow her team to streamline the entire medical record scanning and indexing workflow and better quality check documents prior to sending to the EHR. According to Beauvois, the implementation was a monumental success.
“EDCO had a dynamic group working alongside my team, providing us training and support. They were really easy to work with, and you could tell that they were sincerely invested in the success of our facility.”
New Workflow Improves Physician Satisfaction
By utilizing Solarity, the document prep process has been simplified. Documents are simply dropped in the scanner where they are sent through Solarity for automatic document recognition and indexing. Next, documents are sent to the Solarity Review module where City of Hope staff confirms document type and index accuracy before documents are returned to the EHR for patient care. The entire process is nearly 50% faster, which has been noticed by care providers at City of Hope.
“Patients come in so frequently to our facility for chemotherapy, and other specialized treatments. Every patient that walks in the clinic will generate an encounter form, which then needs to be scanned into the EHR. It’s imperative that the physicians and nurses are working with the most accurate, and up-to-date chart,” said Beauvois.
In addition to the faster turnaround time, HIM leadership can now track the quality and productivity of the scanning and indexing process in Solarity’s dashboards. Real-time reports illustrate actual time spent prepping, scanning, and indexing documents. This has enabled Beauvois to optimize the staffing models to find additional efficiency based on the busiest or slowest times of the day.
Although there are many features and functions of the product that City of Hope’s team believe drive productivity, one of their favorite is the ability to import electronic images from external sources such as CDs, email, or fax. This feature alone keeps the HIM staff from printing large volumes of outside records, only to immediately scan them so that they are available electronically in the EHR.
A True Partnership in Medical Records Scanning
Since implementing the technology, Beauvois and her colleagues have been extremely pleased with the opportunity to work with EDCO as a dedicated partner.
“I would highly recommend EDCO’s solutions. Their software is truly designed for the HIM department.”
“Using the technology and best practices, we’ve been able to greatly reduce the effort involved in the scanning and indexing process. We have also improved quality and reduced turnaround time.”
In the last 10 months, City of Hope and EDCO have had the opportunity to continue working together to optimize the scanning and indexing process. Using the real-time productivity information found in the Solarity dashboards, EDCO has provided additional staffing recommendations to City of Hope based on the peaks and valleys in their daily image volume. When it was identified that additional staff was necessary to keep up with the indexing review volume for a short time, the two partnered again, and EDCO’s Document Review Team in Springfield, Missouri seamlessly provided supplemental remote indexing services as requested by City of Hope.
Beauvois sums up the relationships well by saying, “our relationship with EDCO feels like a true partnership.” Both look forward to the continued relationship and the opportunity to work together in the future to reach City of Hope National Medical Center’s electronic goals.