Mercy Health Network, part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Colorado, operating hospitals and healthcare facilities across 18 states.
Mercy Health Network wanted to rehaul processes at the Mercy Clinical Laboratory. The laboratory analyses over 1,800 samples a day from patients across 17 hospitals and 300 facilities. The lab contributes approximately $30 million to the hospital’s annual revenue, so digitizing processes was a high priority.
Minimal lag time from lab analysis to billing
The Lab needed to speed up the processing time from when a specimen is received to the time it is billed. During the period the Lab was looking for a new system, it had $7-8 million in lab work waiting to be billed. The goal was multi-pronged: automate processes; reduce time-to-bill; streamline document sharing patient access, medical coding and billing teams. Prior to DocuWare, staff would staple documents together, hand write the account number and manually alphabetize the lab reports for each day. Once all the documents were in order, the staples were removed so the documents could be scanned. The files created were unsearchable and required the staff to page through the entire day’s paper-trail, often more than 5,000 pages! These paper documents were then re-stapled and sent to the billing department.
Digital transformation means lab orders are scanned & filed using barcoded labels
Today, specimens and lab orders are scanned in real time using barcoded labels to index the documents by a unique accession number. The Lab utilizes third-party software Kofax to scan, index and run a Quality Assurance check on the documents, before moving them into DocuWare for access and storage. DocuWare is seamlessly integrated with Cerner, Mercy’s electronic medical record and lab software. When an employee opens a patient record in Cerner, they simply click the integrated DocuWare button to access lab records and test results pertaining to that patient.
The system for managing lab orders worked so well that it was expanded to manage future or standing lab orders which are initially indexed by medical record number, a number unique for each patient and later tied to the accession number.
DocuWare's high functionality, 24/7 support and scalable setup were deciding factors
Implementing DocuWare also allowed the Lab to easily share information with offsite coding staff using an internet connection and login credentials to access and share information with the staff in Des Moines.