GLENVIEW, Ill.-Digital document management initiatives undertaken by Fertility Centers of Illinois, S.C., (FCI) are saving more than 75 hours of staff time per week and have prompted their national network to look into eliminating paper patient charts to improve customer service.
“We’ve hit a mother lode for productivity increases,” reports Bonnie Kelly, FCI’s IT supervisor and the overseer of their digital document management deployments. “The initial projects are succeeding to the point where you feel compelled to find more uses for this technology.”
The original initiative for FCI was to convert the processing of insurance company explanation of benefit (EOB) reports from paper to a digital system based on Laserfiche document management software. The new system is now fully implemented in the ten FCI clinics and two in-vitro fertilization (IVF) centers located in Chicago its suburbs.
As the EOB project proved itself, Ms. Kelly and FCI management decided to take on the more sensitive challenge of asking the medical staff to move away from using paper-based patient charts. A pilot project went live in late May at the FCI clinic in Glenview, which is in the same building as FCI’s administrative offices and IT department. That project is going so well that virtually every one of the other locations is clamoring to be next.
“It’s all about ease of use,” Ms. Kelly says. “In busy medical environments like ours, you want to feel certain that everyone, especially the patients, is going to be comfortable with the change before you bring in a new technology.
“When we switched from paper to Laserfiche for EOBs in May, the patient account representatives were working with it like veterans by the end of the first day. Over the next several weeks, we saw so much improvement and so few problems that we felt confident that we could move on to the patient charts.”
FCI had local and national goals in mind for the conversion to paperless patient charts from the start.
Within FCI, the immediate objective was to give their physicians instant access to patient charts from anywhere, including when traveling from clinic to clinic to see patients and when out of town. Other expected benefits included (1) Being able to get rid of millions of pages of paper and the accompanying storage needs; (2) Virtually eliminating the potential that charts would get lost; and (3) Establishing a secure, Web-based document repository that would make it easier to comply with HIPAA and other regulations.
More broadly, FCI looked at digitizing their patient charts as a way to get more value from their custom-built ARTworks™ EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system created by IntegraMed® America, Inc., (NASDAQ: INMD) a national network of fertility centers in nearly 90 locations served by reproductive endocrinology specialists and PhD-level scientists. The Laserfiche solution complements the EMR system by giving its users instant electronic access to important, externally-created records and images. Moreover, FCI was aware that their success with a Laserfiche-based solution could establish standards that motivated the rest of the network to move away from paper-based document management.
“The clinics that have a lot of dealings with insurance companies want to adopt our way of handling EOBs,” says Ms. Kelly. “Just about everyone, however, right up to senior management at IntegraMed, is interested in using us as a model for moving to digital patient charts. They are very impressed with how easy it has been for us to take this step.”
If IntegraMed America decides to convert the entire network to digital document management, it will be the culmination of a thorough search for the right system for their needs.
“We have been using the ARTworks EMR for three years and recognized the importance of transitioning to a totally paperless environment,” says Ms. Kelly. “Once a practice moves to an electronic patient record, clinicians quickly realize the need to have all information accessible from the EMR, any time, any place. The Laserfiche solution provides secure and easy access to patient health information, supporting data-driven clinical decisions.”
Ms. Kelly says that she felt that Laserfiche was going to be the right digital document management solution for FCI by the time the Laserfiche reseller, Jerry Breitbarth of TKB Associates in Westmont, IL, finished his initial presentation.
“He was very familiar with EOBs and EMR systems and had handled a number of similar situations,” she says. “Plus, it was proven software that stood out for being easy to use. As part of that, Laserfiche had totally open architecture, which was essential to us because of our interest in being able to integrate it with other applications.”
Hand in hand with that thinking, an integration of ARTworks EMR and Laserfiche is currently in progress and is expected to go live at FCI soon.
About Fertility Centers of Illinois
Fertility Centers of Illinois, S.C., is one of the nation’s leading infertility treatment practices, providing advanced reproductive endocrinology services in the Chicago area for over 25 years. FCI performs more IVF than the next nine clinics combined, conducting more than 2,500 cycles per year. FCI has more babies born than the next ten centers combined with high success rates that are recognized throughout the nation. In addition to a team of nationally recognized reproductive physicians who collaborate with each other to stay current on the latest technology and procedures, FCI patients have access to many other unique support services such as professional counseling from a licensed, Ph.D. clinical psychologist, patient advocates and innovative financial options. FCI’s multiple offices are conveniently located throughout the Chicago area.
About IntegraMed America, Inc.
IntegraMed America, Inc. provides business services to a national network of 30 fertility centers in nearly 90 locations across the United States; distributes pharmaceutical products and treatment financing programs directly to consumers; and operates the Web site www.integramed.com, a leading fertility portal. The IntegraMed network includes 160 physicians and Ph.D. scientists. Network membership is limited to one practice per metropolitan area, yet one of every five IVF procedures in the U.S. is performed in an IntegraMed practice, bringing over 5,000 babies into the world yearly. IntegraMed provides more services to both consumers and medical providers in the fertility field than any other consortium.
Based in Long Beach, Calif., Laserfiche (www.laserfiche.com) creates simple and elegant document management solutions that help organizations run smarter. Laserfiche solutions are used in more than 23,000 business and government offices worldwide.