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Document Management

relatively quickly and a strict timeline was developed. Rules-based functionality enabled the IT staff to easily assign different rules to the various system users, such as patient access personnel or emergency department (ED) nurses. This made system management much easier for the implementation team at Prime Healthcare, given the number of employees using the application at any given time. Following a rapid imple- mentation process, IT leader- ship began training clinicians and other staff. Executives

Sreekant Gotti is the corporate chief information offi cer of Prime Healthcare Management. For more on FormFast:

were pleasantly surprised that the organization’s 400-plus users could be fully trained on the system in about 10 min- utes per session. Demonstrating the new system to several groups of individuals at once meant Prime Healthcare was able to complete all training within just a few days. Prime Healthcare also took advantage of the transition to create updated new forms, optimizing an easy-to-use design feature developed by FormFast specifi cally for medi- cal facilities. It wasn’t long before Prime Healthcare had eliminated pre-printed forms for many purposes throughout the multi-hospital system.

The process in practice

When a patient is admitted, staff is able to quickly select and print out the appropriate forms for each individual’s situation. If necessary, forms are completed manually by the patient and signatures are obtained. These documents are then digitized using a high-speed scanner. Once docu- ments are scanned, the data is electronically routed to the correct place in the medical record, guided by barcodes that identify the patient and type of documentation. This prevents time lost in entering data and eliminates errors that can be introduced in data entry – a defi nite patient safety improvement.

Meanwhile, if nurses or physicians require a specifi c document, they do not have to search for preprinted forms stored away in a fi ling cabinet. The system intelligently tracks what forms are necessary for the encounter by param- eters designed by the facility. Users then log on and print the specifi c form according to the exact patient require- ments. Hospitals also can set chart forms to be generated automatically in batches, freeing unit clerks or nurses to focus on other tasks. And since Prime Healthcare’s workfl ow processes and document management activities are now tightly integrated with its EHR and HIS systems, users can print forms or reports directly from these tools. If a clinician requires a hardcopy of a certain document, such as a radiology report, it can be sent directly to the nursing station and distributed as necessary. Hospital staff in any department can also enter patient data, route the forms to multiple departments and

22 October 2011

print the completed items when necessary – without the delay and expense of routing hard copies. All 14 facilities managed by Prime Healthcare are now taking advantage of this automated workfl ow model, which can be easily scaled to accommodate additional users and systems.

The ultimate reward: effi ciency and patient safety Prime Healthcare began realizing clinical and fi nancial

benefi ts soon after organization-wide deployment of the document management system. For example, when a clinical chart is scanned, data can be directed to both the EHR and the hospital’s billing department. This means that when the patient is discharged, fi nancial services personnel can print out the most up-to-date version of the patient’s bill. Similarly, more accurate and timely claims can be generated, meaning the organization is able to receive reimbursements more quickly, improving cash fl ow. Further, users have reported that since they aren’t chasing down paper documents, they are signifi cantly more effi cient and productive. And with less manual data entry, clinicians have reported a noticeable uptick in the quality of clinical information.

Executives were pleasantly surprised that the organization’s 400-plus users could be fully trained on the system in about 10 minutes per session. Demonstrating the new system to several groups of individuals at once meant Prime Healthcare was able to complete all training within just a few days.

While cost savings and effi ciency are, of course, some favorable outcomes of Prime Healthcare’s investment in technology, they are not the most important benefi ts. The organization’s standard for patient safety and quality are paramount. The health system’s IT efforts have decreased manual errors, helped to ensure accurate information and freed staff to spend more time with patients. Eventually, all paper forms may disappear from the hos- pital environment. But, for the time being, every medical facility must deal partially in paper documentation. Prime Healthcare has achieved many important effi ciency, quality and patient-safety objectives with the implementation of a comprehensive IT strategy that includes document manage- ment. It is now clear that Prime Healthcare’s ability to man- age paper in the most effective means possible has played a vital role in the organization’s success.


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