Document management and networked scanning software provide efficient electronic medical records management

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Industry

Healthcare

Critical Issue

Compliance with HIPAA for patient records approval process; solution needed to be SQL Server-based, affordable, and automated.

Solution

SQL Server-based document management system that automates and improves overall transcription-approval process efficiency within standards of HIPAA compliance.

Result

Automatic notifications and approvals save an estimated 20 work hours per week while maintaining HIPAA compliance.


Mississippi Valley Surgery Clinic provides the physicians and patients of the Quad Cities with a state-of-the-art outpatient surgical facility with four operating rooms, four pain management rooms, and a nearby physicians’ building. This results in efficiencies for doctors and patients that a larger hospital would be hard-pressed to match. Likewise, David Dooley, Mississippi Valley’s IT and Business Manager, has worked hard to develop an equally efficient information management system for the clinic’s doctors, patients, and insurance companies. A critical building block has been Document Locator, a networked scanning and document management solution enabling records management critical for the clinic’s business, patients’ health records, and HIPAA compliance.

The issue: a way to manage patient transcriptions and stay HIPAA-compliant

Having installed a “Source Medical” AdvantX system to simplify the management of the surgery center with a Windows 2000 platform and SQL Server 2000, Dooley searched for a solution to a common problem in outpatient surgical facilities: an affordable document management system allowing his team to store and access the surgeons’ transcriptions for patients the clinic might only see once over a period of several years. The transcriptions are not only an important part of the patient’s medical record, they also document the surgical procedures, which Mississippi Valley uses for billing purposes.

“We see between 60 and 100 patients daily here. As you can imagine, this generates a massive amount of transcriptions—about 400-500 Word documents a week,” explained Dooley. “We do our own transcriptions in-house, and it’s extremely important that we get them back to the doctors for their signature. All that’s pretty straightforward. But sometimes the doctors, being human, either forget to sign the transcriptions or don’t get the records back to us in a timely manner. This is where Document Locator saves us 20 hours every week by flagging missing items and, with its notifications and approvals features, helps us stay on track by automatically sending the documents to the doctors and notifying us that we have approved documentation ready to go to billing.”

Document Locator provides control over record access

Dooley has a pool of four “at-home” transcribers, each of whom uses Document Locator. Dooley and a “master transcriber” oversee the repositories into which the individual documents are stored, and maintain the exchange with the doctors. It helps that Document Locator is integrated with Windows and MS Office so that they all work together as if part of an application rather than as separate “systems.”

Obviously, in addition to aiding the billing process, Document Locator helps Mississippi Valley Surgery maintain the clinic’s HIPAA compliance practice by safeguarding patient records. With Document Locator, Dooley has complete control over record access and has two levels of security built into the document repositories: NT-level controls and SQL Server, where the documents are actually stored.

As active as Mississippi Valley is, it is still a relatively small business and at a time when healthcare costs are scrutinized, Dooley was delighted to find a document management package that was priced for small business budgets.

“I received proposals that I thought the service providers had written for a Fortune 500 operation,” said Dooley, shaking his head in disbelief. “But when I found Document Locator, I got tremendous value for an operation of our size and budget.”

Plans for the future

In the future, Dooley will scan in patients’ insurance card information and store that in Document Locator to further expedite billing and information management. Likewise, Dooley also anticipates scanning in the large volume of benefits statements emanating from insurance companies and other healthcare providers so that this information can be digitally stored and immediately accessed when it’s needed, and not take up valuable real estate when it’s not.

“Medical records management and related digital storage issues are significant problems around the country that are growing,” said Dooley. “But with Document Locator, everyone from the little guy to the big operation has a prescription for relief. It’s easy to use, install, and maintain. And it’s easy on our budget.”