Historically, healthcare providers have not spent a high percentage of revenue on technology improvements. Many are realizing, however, that document imaging solutions can streamline processes and improve customer service, providing an edge over competitors. In addition, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance and a federal initiative mandating the creation of electronic health records for all Americans are forcing facilities to change their spending.
A national healthcare provider with more than 800 facilities recently realized considerable benefits in both patient admissions and accounting by capturing and storing document images. Previously, this healthcare provider captured patient information via handwritten paper forms and stored admission records in paper files. The paper trail created a number of difficulties: data inaccuracy during the transfer of information from handwritten forms to admissions and accounting systems, trouble locating and retrieving files, and the loss of physical space from storing a large number of paper files. As a result, the healthcare provider turned to BCS Systems, a document management integrator, for a solution.
BCS built a solution that captures handwritten admission forms upon patient registration. The solution consists of a document capture program, Kofax Ascent Capture Internet Server; Visioneer’s DocuMate 252 and 510 scanners; a document repository, Interwoven Worksite MP; and an integration application linking the healthcare provider’s existing business applications with the capturing software and repository, called BCS HostConnect. The integration to existing systems was completed to minimize cost and ease the transition. The healthcare provider also applied the solution from implementation day forward, meaning existing paper files remained in paper form. Only new admission forms and patient records would be scanned. These two factors reduced the cost of implementation significantly.
Patient admission forms are now scanned upon registration, then stored in the Worksite repository, which provides HIPAA-compliant document security. The HostConnect application interfaces the healthcare provider’s existing scheduling system, Microsoft Outlook, and the patient administration system with the Worksite repository and Ascent Capture software. When admission documents are scanned, the records are automatically indexed, attaching them to existing entries in the scheduling system.
DOCUMENT CAPTURE, MORE
EFFICIENT BILLING PROCESSES
The solution was implemented at one site initially. The integration with existing business applications reduced training time. As a result, deployment to the remaining sites was completed via an automated application installation, followed by a short training session via phone. The healthcare provider was rolling out new PCs in support of a wireless solution recently implemented for its employees. The imaging solution was deployed after each location received the new PCs, scanners, and instructions for installing the DocuMate scanners.
The solution streamlined the admission processing so significantly that it was expanded to the accounts receivable department, which was using a paper-based invoicing process. With minimal modifications, the healthcare provider began scanning all cash flow paperwork. In doing so, it now transfers invoices to insurance companies electronically. Prior to implementing the solution, it took approximately eight days for an invoice to be prepared and leave the healthcare provider’s building. These are now digitally transferred within one to three days from all 800 locations.
In addition, the healthcare provider eliminated the courier costs it had been incurring to transfer patient records among its facilities, other healthcare facilities, and insurance companies. These are all transferred electronically now. With the savings on courier costs, increased cash flow, and more efficient processing, the healthcare provider anticipates a 12-month payback on its investment.