"We started looking at systems for handheld charge capture about a year ago when we noticed that our monthly billings did not match our patient census and complaints by doctors that they were doing too much clerical work", stated Dr. Monte Brown, vice chairman of the department of medicine at BWH. "By surveying the number of patients under our doctors' names and comparing that to the number of bills, we found a significant gap. As a result, we began exploring technological solutions that could solve the problem while reducing costs."
The Department of Medicine at Brigham has a staff of some 800 faculty members, about one-third of which have at least part-time clinical responsibilities seeing patients. The rest are involved in medical research at this Harvard Medical School affiliate hospital.
After selecting PatientKeeper in January, Dr. Brown worked with PatientKeeper to have his new system up and running within six weeks including a number of custom features such as a counter that displays the number of bills the doctor has issued that day and unique pop-up windows that remind doctors to use specific modifiers when appropriate. The study continued through the end of May with about 20 physicians, both full-time and part-time.
"In the first month alone, we saw an increase of 20 percent in the number of bills we issued", stated Dr. Brown. By the end of the pilot, the increase in monthly billing was averaging about 15 percent and the days to accounts receivable went from a respectable 54 days to 37 days. The savings have enabled the department to pay for the entire system out of operating funds.
"Working with Dr. Brown and the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's was ideal for PatientKeeper", stated Paul Brient, PatientKeeper CEO. "It gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the PatientKeeper Platform approach, where charge capture, clinical applications, as well as other hospital and educational programmes can all share the same PDA."
In addition to a robust charge capture capability, the Department of Medicine required that the handheld system have built-in wireless for future connectivity, that it be easily customised by hospital staff, that it work equally well on both Palm and Pocket PC devices, and most importantly, the system needed to offer both charge capture and a full suite of clinical applications.
The PatientKeeper Charge Capture Application Suite automates a billing process that typically relies on individual billing cards. Instead of jotting information on the cards, doctors use the PatientKeeper system to simply check off the customisable diagnosis codes and services performed on their handhelds. The PatientKeeper Clinical Application Suite consists of a variety of tools for reading and analysing all types of patient data such as laboratory results, medication lists, allergies, and clinical documentation.
BWH is a 725-bed non-profit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare System, an integrated health care delivery network. Internationally recognised as an academic health care institution, BWH is committed to excellence in patient care, medical research, and the training and education of health care professionals. The hospital's pre-eminence in all aspects of clinical care is coupled with its strength in medical research. A recipient of research grants from the National Institutes of Health, BWH conducts internationally acclaimed clinical, basic and epidemiological studies.
PatientKeeper Inc. provides health care professionals with mobile computing solutions that help improve patient care and curb rising costs. The PatientKeeper Platform easily integrates with existing systems and securely delivers patient information to clinicians' mobile devices. PatientKeeper and its partners have created a portfolio of mobile applications that support a wide spectrum of tasks including rounding support, clinical results and charge capture. Many health care institutions and vendors have already standardised on the PatientKeeper Platform. More information on PatientKeeper is available in the VMW February 2003 article North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System deploys PatientKeeper and Clarinet Systems EthIR LAN.