University Hospital Automation Case Study

Approximately 21,000 patients are admitted to University Hospital in Augusta, GA each year, and another 10,000 annually receive outpatient treatment. As a result, the hospital’s hosted mainframe generates hundreds of lengthy reports for patient access management and billing that must be made available to dozens of departments.

Until recently, these reports were printed on a central printer at scheduled times. Representatives of various departments would have to travel from their office in the extensive multi-building hospital campus to pick up the reports from a centralized distribution point.

“I always feel like KeyMark has our best interest in mind. They have kept us informed of OnBase promotions that helped us keep our costs down, and we never felt like they were trying to oversell us,” adds Ed Boniewicz.

Once they finally arrive at the correct department, these reports would be distributed to the appropriate personnel to wade through the paper reports to locate specific bits of information. Any historical research required tedious examination of bound volumes of reports.

Eventually, someone would be required to box up the reports for long term storage. Ed Boniewicz, Director of Computer Services at University Hospital, knew there had to be an easier and more efficient way to make mainframe reports available to hospital employees and began to investigate possible COLD/ERM (enterprise report management) solutions.

“My initial thought wasn’t so much to save paper, though that certainly was a consideration,” says Boniewicz. “My goal was to give people their time back.”

Boniewicz and a group of four Information Systems staffers determined that 15 products fell within their functional requirements. That list was narrowed to five, and a 20-person evaluation group of technical and non-technical users reviewed their presentations. Three vendors were selected to receive RFPs. Based on its ability to meet the price/performance requirements, systems integrator KeyMark, Inc. (Greenville, SC) was selected to implement the project.

KeyMark impressed Boniewicz and his team with both technical expertise and references from customers with similar applications. Not only were existing KeyMark customers willing to speak to the committee about their satisfaction, Boniewicz and his colleagues also visited two of KeyMark’s customer sites to see how the solutions worked first-hand. The visits gave University Hospital a glimpse of how the KeyMark’s solution could be leveraged to expand efficiencies in other departments in the future. Numerous KeyMark customers are also using their solutions to manage scanned images, workflow, and electronic forms.

Instead of spending time locating, sorting, and delivering paper reports, authorized users can now log on to the secure repository and retrieve them with a click of a mouse. When a printed copy is necessary, users can opt to print only the pages that are pertinent to that job instead of the entire report, a feature Boniewicz estimates is used for up to 70% of reports accessed.

The KeyMark solution also provides a keyword and text search of the reports, eliminating the need to refer to multiple bound volumes. Instead, if someone in financial services needs to research a customer account, they only need to enter the name and account number to retrieve data from any reports in the repository. In addition to measurable savings in paper usage, the hospital has reduced the number of man- hours associated with handling paper reports and performing hard-copy searches.

Due to KeyMark’s thorough and friendly knowledge transfer, the solution has also gained wide user acceptance, which is crucial to the success of any technology project.

“When I ask people what they think of the system, they are very excited,” says Boniewicz. “Our biggest supporters have been in the finance department where so many reports are generated.”

University Hospital’s reports went online in three stages based on priorities set by the various departments. Approximately 95% of all reports (as many as 600) will be available when the project is complete. When a new batch of reports is transitioned to digital, users of that report receive e-mail notification and a 30 day period in which to take a 1.5 to 2-hour training course offered by the hospital’s educational services department.

Currently, the system has 331 recognized users using 60 concurrent licenses and 10 named- user licenses. The next phase of the project will extend access to even more of the hospital’s 3,500 employees through a Web module that allows authorized users to access reports through a standard browser with no software on the desktop client. Using a Web client is also beneficial to the IT staff as it eliminates the need to install and maintain an application on each desktop.

The implementation of a retention module will reduce the amount of time spent meeting regulatory requirements. For example, the finance department has many reports that may be accessed regularly for a short period of time and less frequently as the weeks pass. However, the law requires these records be saved for seven years. The manual system required that the bound reports be boxed up and sent to storage, where it is possible they would continue to take up physical space until destruction. Using the proposed solution designed by KeyMark, the hospital will be automating the life cycle of reports. As a result, when a report is obsolete, the administrator receives an e-mail asking for permission to delete it, freeing up system resources.

KeyMark demonstrated a remarkable commitment to customer service.

“One of the things that each of their references remarked on was how flexible and customer-oriented KeyMark is, and we’ve found that to be true for us as well,” Boniewicz says.

For example, University Hospital made the rather unusual request for a live pilot project, selecting five reports with private information removed for a mock up. The pilot was run on the hospital’s network and included users in the finance department as well as technical staff.

“I always feel like KeyMark has our best interest in mind. They have kept us informed of OnBase promotions that helped us keep our costs down, and we never felt like they were trying to oversell us,” adds Boniewicz. “If I need information or price quotes, I never have to call more than once. There are many times when a question could probably be resolved over the phone, but they visit on site anyway, just to be sure everything is working at its best.”

About University Hospital

Located in Augusta, GA, University Hospital is a 581-bed, not-for-profit, community hospital. It is the oldest hospital in the Augusta area and the second oldest in the state of Georgia, University’s volunteer trustees and medical staff have never lost sight of the founders’ original mission of improving the delivery of healthcare to the people of the community.