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  5. Swedish Medical Center digitizes health records as well as insurance and billing claims

Swedish Medical Center


Swedish Medical Center digitizes health records as well as insurance and billing claims

Since 1910, Swedish Medical Center has been a hallmark for excellence in healthcare. With over 70 clinics and four hospital locations, Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive, nonprofit healthcare provider in the Greater Seattle area. Swedish is not just about facilities, research and new techniques, it’s about people coming together to provide the most compassionate care possible. From nurses and physicians, to social workers and dietitians, the dedicated team at Swedish Medical Center is defining, on a personal level, what excellence really means. In fact, in an independent research study conducted by the National Research Corp., Swedish is consistently named the area’s best hospital, with the finest doctors, nurses and overall care in a variety of specialty areas.

As a direct result of Swedish’s large number of clinics and hospital locations, their staff was constantly doubling their efforts to process and share critical documents that affected the care of their patients. Hospital administrators were limited to the use of unreliable fax and copying devices that required them to turn their backs on patients while copying and faxing their plastic insurance cards and sensitive health records. They were continually dealing with paper jams and send-error messages, when they could have been assisting with patient care and customer service.

"In 2005, upon the opening of Swedish/Issaquah, a brand new medical clinic offering 24/7 emergency services and comprehensive specialty care, Swedish Medical Center embarked on a fresh and innovative journey that changed the way they managed workflow. Swedish was in search of a more efficient system for managing the flow of their documents to boost productivity within their hospitals and clinics. Given that the quality of patient care is often linked with operational efficiency and staff workflow, Swedish opened their doors to the idea of Electronic Records Management (ERM).

Paper Burdens Patient Care: Seeking a Resolution

Swedish Medical Center’s advantage as a multi-specialty healthcare provider made them unique within the industry because they were able to expose patients to diverse care by coordinating efforts across multiple offices, practices and hospitals. However, communicating between the various locations proved to be a burden when it came to records efficiency. Patient information that was archived in different departments was difficult to access and distribute. Swedish’s first objective was to employ an enterprise level Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system which would require a reliable, cost effective, and intuitive, document imaging device that would replace the copy and fax machines in the office and move these stored records into a central repository for quick and easy access.

Due to the shapes, sizes and textures of documents that needed to be copied, faxed, and stored, such as insurance cards, 8 ½ x 11 papers, etc., Swedish required a robust scanner that encompassed an impressive resume of abilities including double-sided scanning, the capacity to scan a variety of documents at once in black & white and color, and unprecedented speed. Also, the information on each document was critical to patient care. The images on each scan needed to be as clear as possible and with the accumulation of dirt, lint, gum, paper, etc., on insurance cards, it was necessary to utilize a machine that was capable of cleaning the image to the best quality and capture minute details.

Dependability was also a key factor in the selection process. For over a year, Swedish had been using a Fujitsu document scanner at the Issaquah site without any service calls. Considering that criteria, Swedish employed the use of the Fujitsu fi-5120C Color Duplex Workgroup Scanner, which had capabilities that surpassed scanning devices from other considered manufacturers. Not only was the Fujitsu fi-5120C scanner equipped to perform all of the necessary functions that Swedish required to capture their documents, but it was extremely easy to use and deploy, had zero service issues, and its physical real estate was no more than a small footprint, freeing up space in each office location.

Additional scanners were also implemented - the Fujitsu fi-5750C color duplex document scanner - which features an automatic document feeder (ADF) that swivels to accommodate different users and installations and scans up to 57 ppm/114 ipm in color and monochrome, in addition to the company’s next generation fi-5120C workgroup solution, the Fujitsu fi-6130 sheet-fed scanner, a sophisticated model optimized for superior scanner performance with a reliable advanced paper handling technology for preventing paper jams and feed errors.

"We knew we had to start with the root of the problem, in order to design a seamless user interface that would have the smallest impact on our users, while providing the best results," said Cathy Johnson, who implemented the imaging system at Swedish Medical Center. "The foundation of patient care begins with the administrative staff. If they’re not supplied with the proper tools to do their jobs quickly and effectively, the entire office is affected - doctors can’t do their jobs without consent forms or HIPAA records, lab technicians can’t file their test results. In making sure that our team has the highest quality tools to communicate their health records management needs, our patients receive the best care possible."

"We already had Kofax software installed in our systems at the Issaquah location which was supported by our integrator, ImageSource," said Johnson. "We looked to ImageSource for help as we learned how to best deploy a total solution using Epic Systems© 2009 and the Fujitsu scanners. They partnered with us in the imaging integration that supports our electronic medical record needs 24/7."

ImageSource, a provider of Enterprise Content Management solutions, provided Swedish with expert counsel on maximizing their utilization of Kofax, an image enhancement software, packaged with the Fujitsu scanners that gave Swedish staff the option of scanning directly to PDF, file, print or batch, and integrate with the Epic Systems ERM. Furthermore, the initial utilization of the Fujitsu scanners at Swedish/Issaquah clinic proved so successful that the Fujitsu scanning devices were implemented in all of Swedish Medical Center’s increasing the number of clinics and hospitals in conjunction with Kofax and Epic Systems deployments.

The Results Are In

Since the deployment of the first Fujitsu scanner, Swedish Medical Center has implemented over 240 Fujitsu document scanners into their various locations and has digitized over four million pages of documentation, eliminating the need for photo copying and faxing. In addition, Swedish’s transition to the full EMR system where it hosts all of its mission critical information, has equipped staff within the various clinics with the resources to decrease the time that it took to manage and retrieve health records and claims, and increase workflow, patient uptime, safety and satisfaction.

With the EMR system in place, the health records and insurance and billing claims are digitized and ready for instant retrieval within the various facilities and not easily misplaced or destroyed. Moreover, personnel spend less time searching for paper charts and gained the ability to access medical records from many locations. Swedish Medical Center has also freed up time to channel their efforts on creating a greener workplace. They are working on transitioning their clinics and hospitals to an environment with entirely paperless patient charts, within the next five years.

"With the EMR system in place, we at Swedish no longer have to deal with the inefficiency of massive amounts of paper documentation," said Johnson. "Now when a patient comes in, we just capture the documents, verify the quality of the scanned images, and upload them directly into the patient’s EMR—making them secure and instantly available throughout the system, freeing up more time for face-to-face interaction and care. It’s a really huge win for customer service, staff time, and— of course—paper reduction."

Industries:

  • Healthcare

Offering Groups:

  • Scanners

Solution Areas:

  • Imaging Solutions

Regions:

  • United States

Challenges:

  • Reduce inefficiencies cause by paper-jams, send-error messages, and low image reproduction quality associated with fax and copy devices
  • Improve document workflow management to boost administrative staff productivity and decrease time required to process patient records and paperwork
  • Increase accessibility to documents that are archived in different departments that are difficult to access, distribute, and are easily misplaced and destroyed
  • Replaced copy and fax machine in office and move stored records into a central repository for quick and easy access

Benefits:

  • Deployed dependable, easy-to-use workgroup scanners with zero service issues , small office footprint, and higher image capture quality
  • Reliable EMR scanning solution enables quicker patient document processing, thus increasing staff efficiency and allowing more time for greater patient care
  • Health records and insurance and billing claims are digitized and ready for instant retrieval within various facilities, eliminating the need for photocopying and faxing
  • Freed up time to channel efforts on creating greener workplace; working towards entirely paperless patient charts within next 5 years