The importance of an efficient health information management system (HIMS) is clear to anyone who works in healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes HIMS is vital “in detecting health problems, defining priorities, identifying innovative solutions, and allocating resources to improve health outcomes.”1
Healthcare services and technology provider IOD Incorporated has built a successful business supporting HIMS at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. The company offers imaging and document conversion services for its customers, says Stephen Mallinak, Vice President of Professional Services for IOD. For its hospital customers, IOD provides capture and workflow technology, and a staff comprised of IOD employees who work in the HIM department, both onsite and at IOD’s central processing center. These IOD employees manage the process of indexing, collecting, scanning, and archiving healthcare documents.
With increased pressures on the top line from healthcare reform and changing reimbursement models in healthcare, IOD’s customers are constantly looking for innovative ways to reduce cost per discharge. While cost is important to these healthcare organizations, Mallinak says that for his customers, high quality and fast turnaround times are equally critical factors as they have implications on both revenue cycle and the quality of healthcare provided to patients. Improved speed and quality are therefore key selling points for IOD, but the company must also pay close attention to the bottom line. Anything IOD can do to improve the efficiency of its employees, when performing imaging and document conversion, is a positive step for the customer’s profitability and the company’s success.
With respect to the onsite service IOD provides its customers, labor is one of the biggest costs, so managing those costs is a high priority. Having deployed Kofax Capture for imaging services at a number of customer sites over the years, IOD began looking at other ways to use Kofax technology to further improve the efficiency of its staff as well as the quality of service to its customers.
Kofax Transformation Modules seemed an obvious choice for IOD, given the two companies’ existing relationship, IOD’s track record and familiarity with Kofax Capture, and its belief that customers would be receptive to a technology upgrade that improved their HIM systems. For customers, quality and processing speed, as well as the potential to support point of care scanning, were the key selling points. For IOD itself, reducing our cost per image was another primary driver. “
Based on proof-of-concepts we performed before the purchase, we estimated that we would see 30% or more in labor savings with Kofax Transformation Modules,” Mallinak says. “This savings would result from spending less time prepping documents, as well as the faster validation indexing piece due to OCR technology built into the Kofax solution.”
Easy deployment was also a consideration, says Mallinak: “Our staff knew the Kofax product line so it was an easy transition to add another module to what we already had in place.” This was important because both Kofax solutions needed to function seamlessly in support of IOD’s proprietary customer-facing workflow technology: Overlook for Imaging (OFI).
OFI follows vital patient information, from patient discharge and image capture through records analysis and archival. It offers personnel real-time, HIPAA-compliant analytics and decision support at every step of the HIM process.
Right from the start, IOD was able to achieve the projected savings. “The first site that went live looks to be about a 33% savings in cost per image,” Mallinak notes, citing a reduction in FTEs by one-third. Other sites are in the initial stages of deployment, and IOD is already seeing increased processing efficiencies and reduced image costs. At one hospital in Baltimore, for example, greater efficiency has enabled the company to reduce its workweek from six days to five.“
We cut out the weekend shift because we were basically able to keep up with everything, Monday through Friday, and eliminate a day where we were previously scanning,” says Mallinak. “We’re trending in the right direction.”
With the Kofax integration to its OFI solution, IOD is also able to provide its hospital customers with greater visibility into the imaging and document conversion process. At any time, hospital personnel can use OFI to see where a particular chart is in the process. They can find out what was scanned, how many pages, how many documents were in the chart, and so on; and they can check reports that show turnaround time and quality.
In addition to delivering greater visibility and reduced or more consistent turnaround time with Kofax Transformation Modules and its OFI solution, IOD has added automated quality checks to identify and correct errors. For example, leveraging Kofax’s optical character recognition (OCR) and barcode-scanning capability, the Overlook solution can detect when one patient’s documents inadvertently end up in another patient’s chart. Errors like these are flagged in the system so they can be checked and corrected, which has the potential to impact a lot more than the bottom line.
Going forward, IOD is taking a look at deploying scanning devices at key locations throughout the hospitals they serve. Says Mallinak: “We’ve explored something called “point of care scanning,” which is a key requirement for hospitals to achieve the industry’s HIMSS Stage 7 certification, used to identify the most mature electronic health record environments. In point of care scanning, we would put a device on the floors at a hospital, in an emergency room, or at a clinic offsite; then, personnel would be able to capture images in those remote locations, identify and index those images using Kofax technology and perform centralized remote exception processing.” IOD sees greater efficiencies resulting from capturing documents at the Point of Origination™ in multiple areas throughout the hospital, rather than using courier routes with people gathering paper documents and bringing them to a central location.
“Overall,” says George Abatjoglou, Chief Executive Officer at IOD, “the company’s goal in using Kofax solutions as part of IOD’s technology service is to deliver a better customer experience that can be a key component of an organization’s evolution through the electronic health record continuum.” Kofax Transformation Modules and Kofax Capture have been important steps in that direction.