Brainware’s staff came on site, and the whole process – from the actual start of the implementation until we were up and running with purchase order-related transactions – took about a month and a half, and that’s a very fast implementa- tion. The project leads stayed off the critical path and accu- rately delivered their products on schedule. They were very helpful in walking us through the process of developing the customized features, understanding our business processes and feeding back their recommendations. Brainware’s special- ists brought a level of experience that enabled us to better align the application with our long-term business objectives, and the process even helped us uncover weaknesses in our prior routines.
Robert Banwart is director of accounts payable, Presence Health. For more on Brainware: www.rsleads.com/211ht-203
As a result of the Brain- ware implementation, we were able to reduce the per- manent hourly AP staff by about 40 percent; prior to the
merger, we had achieved field extraction rates of 94 percent on purchase order-based invoices, and paper-based processing was reduced from 87 percent to 10 percent. On our purchase order-related invoices, about 45 percent of those transactions are able to go through the verification process without our intervention, and about 75 percent of the transactions were able to have the software match automatically (the line items on the invoice to the line items on the purchase order). Those percentages are significant reductions in key punching. Our minimum standard invoice cycle time is now far
quicker, which has given us the ability to work with more ven- dors to obtain prompt payment discounts – money once left on the table, but now available for critical healthcare delivery. One of the greatest benefits to the application was its scal-
ability. As Provena Health comes on board and the merger is completed, our invoice volumes will increase accordingly, but we anticipate being able to heavily leverage our initial design and development work to enable a smooth expansion of the system. We believe the processing platform will compound the efficiency inherent to a merger of two major healthcare providers, resulting in higher efficiency and productivity gains than would be achieved through consolidation of a paper- based environment
In addition to transforming the routine for processing invoices, expense reports and other document types from “data entry and paper handling” to “analysis and exception handling,” the software provides a vastly improved audit trail, as well as a consistent method for discrepancy resolution. We have been able to more quickly identify possible duplicate payments and develop additional reporting mechanisms to drive down the risk of making duplicate payments. When you have a system like this, where everything is visible, you’re actually driven to continuously improve your process. We also implemented Brainware’s application for enter- prise search, which has helped our department quickly re- trieve previously scanned documents and review all physician
payments; yet another essential routine that once consumed many hours. By creating a scalable, searchable archive for structured and unstructured data, we have been able to con- vert all of these documents into electronic images, negating the need to physically store seven years’ worth of paper files. The search technology saves my department a great deal of time and effort that would otherwise be spent retrieving paper documents. Our accountants also use it to efficiently recall invoices related to specific checks, and I anticipate the technology benefitting additional users as we continue to roll out Brainware more broadly.
In terms of innovation and long-term strategic initiatives, healthcare financial operations typically take a back seat to functions more directly serving the core mission of deliver- ing medical treatment and conducting research. In this case, however, we have leveraged available technology to deliver a true benefit to the bottom line at Presence Health, creating efficiency in the back office so that more dollars can go to the facilities where they are most needed. Working in accounts payable, you don’t have many op- portunities in your career to implement significant change. In the case of the Brainware project, we are implementing some cutting-edge technology in an area that is not accus- tomed to that. With the procurement of Brainware, I feel we have taken the fundamental step to becoming a world-class accounts payable operation. I firmly believe the benefits of going through this change will position us for the future, in accounts payable, to contribute even more directly to the mission of Presence Health.
(Editor’s note: One year ago, Provena Health and Resur-
rection Health Care merged and became Presence Health, the largest Catholic healthcare system based in Illinois – and one of the state’s largest employers. As of October 2012, the Brain- ware platform is now known as Perceptive Intelligent Capture, powered by Brainware, and is adaptable to document-driven processes across the healthcare enterprise, including the sorting, capture and reconciliation of EOBs, HCFAs, UBO4s, patient records and others.)
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