Health Services Records Management

Going Paperless, Ensuring Privacy in Busy Healthcare Provider Workplaces

The health service industry’s long retention requirements and sheer magnitude of paperwork present both the biggest challenges as well the most highly talked about success stories in achieving paperless infrastructures, eliminating¬† paper records of patient charts and billing transactions. In fact, government regulations mandate that all classes of health care professional service providers become compliant with an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system by 2014 to avoid disruption of Medicare and Medicaid payment cycles. The conversion process works especially well for managing “closed” files, or those that contain patient information and archived records from prior to one year ago.

Global Archives’ customers in the health service industry are typically very busy, high-volume patient care and surgical practices with up to 500 transactions per week. One such customer, The Center for Orthopedics Sports of Beverly Hills, California realized that going “paperless” meant much more than reducing paper storage facilities and consolidating closed patient records into an electronic storage cabinet. Having tried unsuccessfully to install two different Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) systems, The Center’s business managers called upon Global Archives to help them meet stringent data governance requirements while improving daily efficiencies.

Global Archives’ cloud-based, Software as a Service data management solutions include specialized data capture software and a Document Management System (DMS) plus professional services. Global Archives’ data governance strategies help health services practices gain control over its most time-consuming, expensive back-office functions. Scanning legacy paper documents while capturing data and tagging each document with barcode-based searchable tags reduces paper storage costs and consolidates file size. This serves to then reduce operating costs and streamline administrative tasks.

Ensuring Data Management Efficiency and Regulatory Compliance

The challenge met by Global Archives was to provide The Center for Orthopedic Sports with products and services so they could reach full compliance and optimal data management efficiency. The objective for Global Archives was to deploy solutions with all the features of an in-house system, while ensuring that costs are fixed and reasonable on a “Pay-As-You-Go” basis. Its cloud-based, Software as a Service model, LockBox, fills the need for both compliance and efficiency.

Appreciating the benefits of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for managing their legacy files, fast-paced care centers soon demanded that electronic images from testing be converted along with paper documents. Simultaneously, management realized that controlling the flow of patient and transaction data improved overall office efficiencies and reduced costs. To be really effective, however, documents needed to be in a “user friendly” format and easily accessible via an online portal. This then allows documents to be quickly found, managed, and shared with colleagues (both internally, and in many cases, outside the practice).

Electronic Healthcare Records Solutions for Small, Medium Practices

Unlike larger facilities with more IT staff and budgets, many small- to mid- size practices find the implementation of an Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) systems to be impractical and significantly more costly than their workload and budget allow; this is a problem that The Center knows only too well. In addition to substantial IT support and sophisticated server hardware and software, the practice must contend with special workflow programming to “move” the charts¬† as patients progress through all of their visits.

Further, as practices demand more capability, in-house software and support costs exceed budgets allocated solely to patient records management. Counter to what is best for the practice, many practice owners then elect to revert to paper, missing out on the benefits of merging documentation with electronic imaging data to achieve an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.

The Center for Orthopedics Sports was in just such a dilemma after two unsuccessful attempts to install different EHR systems. The EHR vendors “failed to support, did not customize for their application and oversold the solution”, says LeeAnn Morrell, assistant to Dr. Krietenberg. LeeAnn contacted Global Archives to assess their situation and interpret the requirements. Global Archives recommended a pilot program using LockBox based upon proven success with other comparable facilities. In view of The Center’s recent challenges in implementing new systems, Global Archives established a “step-by-step” process that minimized disruption of daily operations.

Global Archives began its site audit with staff interviews that defined the process and implementation schedule, budget, and Return on Investment calculation for The Center’s management. The company built test suites to demonstrate how its Data Management System (DMS) could work, and the processes necessary to implement it. Global Archives designed a master database structure to incorporate not only the current office workflow, but also future processes. Production work first began by converting all legacy charts and setting retention schedules so that charts may be retired within designated time frames. “Day forward” work followed, resulting in the practice maintaining only the previous six months of patient visits instead of the previous 10 years. Prior to teaming with Global Archives, The Center’s management and owners were unaware of what the paper charts were costing in storage and in repetitive handling.

Global Archives also developed electronic versions of most frequently used forms to simplify front office and examining room patient transaction charts. These eForms (more than 25) securely link charts to The Center’s billing system to auto populate key demographics of the patient, and include comment sections for staff and attending physicians. The charts then automatically upload to LockBox without the need for costly chart preparation, and are accessible from staff workstations that are each connected to LockBox.

In time, further development will incorporate billing, HR and Accounts Payable functions within the practice. LockBox fulfills the needs of most small to mid size practices, although it is not a conventional Electronic Health Record EHR system. (For example, it does not address ePrescription, billing or referral services) LockBox does the “heavy lifting” of patient chart and patient care documentation within a safe, compliant and secure “Cloud” environment.

Global Archives exceeded the ROI targets required by The Center. After more than four years of providing data governance and document management services to The Center, Global Archives not only met their immediate needs but continues to incorporate and customize new processes designed to improve workflow within this busy practice.

“Global Archives came in and listened to what we had to say and needed. They did what they said they would do, on time and budget. Global Archives provided timely support and helped us to start to become compliant.” – LeeAnn Morrell.

Global Archives offers proven success in data governance for health care management, in work environments wherein privacy and secure data management is of utmost concern and is subject to industry and governmental regulation.Contact us for more information.

Site Audit for Data and Document Storage Systems

Global Archives offers a step-by-step site audit that identifies challenges and provides recommendations for business process improvements.

Uncovering Conversion Challenges

  • Central or multiple locations?
  • Accessibility, organization, portability?
  • Costs to share and transfer data?
  • Ergonomics, workplace aesthetics?
  • Costs of square footage and staff access devoted to storage?
  • Requirements for duplication, photocopies and digital copies?

Discovering Business Process Challenges

  • Efficiencies of Cloud Services, data redundancies and security
  • Efficiencies of staff’s repetitive transactional tasks?
  • Efficiencies of client’s information sharing, forms completion?
  • Costs of office supplies, disposable and paper goods?
  • Security and organization of hard-copy document storage?
  • Efficiencies of improved business processing and approvals

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