By late 2008, we made the decision that we needed something more: an ROI software and service vendor that would maintain better contact with the hospital, and that would be able to dedicate time and effort to meeting our needs through service calls and follow-ups. Beyond service issues, legislative and regulatory changes also played a role in our decision to transition to a new ROI software provider. As a small community hospital, at the time, we were quite comfortable with the manual records process, but as technology expanded, our health information management (HIM) department needed to look at alternatives that would allow the hospital to respond to changing government mandates and to the CMS Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program. Be- cause of this, we needed to ensure that the ROI service we chose would integrate seamlessly with the EHR and audit-tracking solutions we were already using. In June 2009, Underwood-Memorial Hospital contracted and went live with MRO, an ROI, audit-tracking and docu- ment management software and service vendor. Along with more personalized client service, our HIM department realized several other tangible benefi ts right from the start. Perhaps the biggest benefi t was that this vendor’s ROI software cut out a major step in our conversion from our electronic records system into the ROI application. Prior to our transition, if we needed to transmit a medical record, it was an incredibly wasteful process. Even a 50- to 75- page online document would need to be fi rst printed out in the Cerner EHR layout, which might turn out to be more than 200 actual pages per record. Those pages then needed to be scanned in to recreate the electronic record format for the vendor’s ROI processing. Instead, MRO’s ROI Online comes with a feature called WebPrint Distribution Server built spe- cifi cally to work in conjunction with our Cerner system, which lets us capture images of medical records into a PDF format, eliminating our need to print huge volumes of paper and waste quantities of toner. Ultimately, this feature reduces our workload exponentially, streamlines our process and saves printing costs.
The ROI Online system also gives us increased access over time. With our previous ROI provider, Underwood- Memorial was limited to the amount of time over which we could access a record, since they would purge records from their system after a year. With MRO, the scanned records are retained permanently, which signifi cantly reduces rework in instances where we need to access or rescan our patient records.
Staff and software results
While some hospitals opt to use standalone software, at Underwood-Memorial we chose to partner with MRO as a staffed service so that the vendor could assist us in hiring new staff – providing full training, salaries and ben-
efi ts for that staff member. This means that in addition to using the company’s software, the vendor also provides in-house, release-of-information processing. Ultimately, for Underwood-Memorial, this adds up to greater control over employee work fl ow and of the ROI process. With our past provider, the ROI process was confi gured as a stand-alone system that could only be accessed by the vendor’s representative and was not available for shared use by our staff. Through our transition to the ROI Online process, authorized Underwood-Memorial users have improved oversight and accessibility, and they can also access the system as needed to direct accountability, control policies and procedures, and develop usage and work-fl ow status reports.
We chose to partner with MRO as a staffed service so that the vendor could assist us in hiring new staff – providing full training, salaries and benefi ts for that staff member.
The transition to using a staffed model of ROI service and support has been crucial to the continued growth of Underwood-Memorial Hospital and has meant that we can serve our patients and community more effi ciently and even more professionally. Turnaround times for re- quest processing have been cut in half, which means the HIM department is no longer bombarded with incoming calls from requesters checking on release status. In addi- tion, with the major changes in medical record manage- ment and legislation, having an ROI software partner who helps us stay on top of our release-of-information needs means that our HIM department can focus on the broader concerns of managing our hospital’s medical records and ensuring compliance with all the relevant laws and standards.
As a result of this transition, Underwood-Memorial Hospital now spends less time on medical record re- quest processing and is able to maintain its commit- ment to serving the community through superior patient care. This commitment extends from the very fi rst encounter with a patient all the way through to ensuring that a patient’s medical records are secure and accessible by the medical providers who care for that patient.
HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY October 2010 17