Operational Scanning and Loading into a Third Party Solution
Inspira Health Network, formally known as South Jersey Healthcare, brings together expert physicians from three medical centers and more than 40 locations to provide their communities with quality, inspiring care under one network. With 681 beds, Inspira Health Network provides a wide array of inpatient and outpatient services, award-winning cancer care to the state of New Jersey and a state-of-the-art surgical center at Inspira’s Medical Center Vineland in Vineland, NJ.
In August 2010, the HIM department received final approval to move forward with an electronic environment through the use of Siemens Soarian®, their Enterprise Document Management (EDM) solution. It was up to Michele D'Ambrosio, Director of HIM, to prepare the team who were not only trying to get used to the new process, but were facing several staffing challenges with team members out on leave.
The staff of forty people required training and experience to complete electronic workflows. Without adding FTEs, the HIM department would need to complete document preparation, scanning and Quality Control to their documents prior to uploading the images into Soarian. Michele knew that the process ahead was very labor intensive. The chart preparation step would be additional labor and require a skill set that was outside of the department. Document preparation requires mounting and tearing documents, pulling staples and paper clips from pages and confirming all pages are in order prior to completing scanning. In addition to the labor intensive scanning process, South Jersey was faced with a new workflow that needed to include an accurate process for tracking their medical records.
When Michele first realized the challenge ahead, she determined the most successful path was to partner with a trusted expert. After discussions with the hospital’s CIO, Michele contacted Alpha Systems. Michele has experience working with Alpha so she had the confidence they could help her succeed.
With project approval, Alpha Systems stepped in immediately by scanning inpatient, outpatient and ER records for the health system. It was understood at the beginning, that once the staff was trained and became quicker with the new process, they would gradually take some of the record types back in-house. After one month, Michele’s department was able to take their ER records in-house and eventually the outpatient records as well. Today, Alpha Systems continues to scan and loads all of their inpatient records directly in Soarian.
Michele complimented Alpha Systems on being extremely flexible and open to suggestions by saying, “It was not a cookie-cutter approach where we had to take it or leave it. They (Alpha Systems) worked with us.”
In addition to the more efficient scanning process, Alpha Systems was able to eliminate the need for forms inventory and redesign. The redesign would have required South Jersey to reformat over 1,000 forms between their three facilities to ensure that the barcode fit properly and was read by the scanners when tested. This process normally takes organizations one year to complete and it was eliminated. Alpha Systems was able to solve this issue with target sheets and save the hospital time and money.
The cost savings did not stop there. South Jersey was able to utilize Alpha’s chart tracking system, allowing the HIM department to complete checks and balances on all patient charts. Charts are “checked-out “as they leave the hospital and are tracked once they arrive at Alpha Systems. The hospital director is then able to view the progress of all of the charts as they are prepped, scanned and sent for Quality Assurance.
One of the greatest benefits of this project during Go-Live was Michele’s lack of worry about the vendor she chose. To this day, South Jersey Healthcare has maintained its 24 hour turnaround time, from time of discharge, which was 72 hours before the project began. “The process works like clockwork and is very timely for the hospital,” said D’Ambrosio.
Overall, the new process saved South Jersey “thousands of dollars” and time by using target sheets and Alpha’s chart tracking system. Forms inventory alone would have taken another year. It gave Michele’s staff time to learn the new prep, QC and scanning processes hands on, which allowed them to keep up and avoid a backlog because Alpha took all of the records at the beginning then gradually let the department bring them back in house.
In addition, the process helped Michele concentrate on other areas and aspects of the project. Michele was also able to maintain her staff and have them fully operational in less than 9 months. “If we didn’t have Alpha, the project would have easily been double that time,” said D’Ambrosio.
For more information or to schedule an on-site demonstration, please call 800-732-9644.