CMH Regional Health System reduces costs by more than $52K within eight months of implementing Optio's MedForms and MedEx solutions

Alpharetta 17 July 2007CMH Regional Health System has reduced costs by more than $52.000 in equipment, supplies and maintenance due to Optio's forms automation solutions, which it implemented in October 2006 as part of a three-year, $18 million patient-safety initiative. CMH Regional Health System, a 95-bed hospital in Wilmington, Ohio, has also reduced costs and experienced process improvements through a streamlined medical records process, which includes automatic indexing and the cold feeding of forms for storage and retrieval. These improvements alone have generated a savings of nearly $14.000 and one-half of a full-time employee equivalent (FTE) due to Optio's integrated health care solutions.

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The hospital also reports accelerated chart completion (deficiency management), reduced chart delinquencies and fewer data errors. "We are generating several benefits from Optio outside of the cost savings", stated Linda Keifer, senior electronic forms and imaging analyst - CMH. "Perhaps the most important is in the area of improved patient safety."

In October 2006, CMH implemented phase one of a three-year, $18 million patient-safety initiative that includes a transformation to an electronic health record (EHR) system. With a corporate vision to become the best community hospital in America, CMH embraces and relies on technology to help it achieve this goal.

After selecting an EHR solution, the hospital recognized that forms automation was necessary to deploy a more complete, legal EHR system and to optimize forms management throughout the continuum of care. CMH's existing forms management processes were extremely manual, paper-based and labour-intensive, resulting in multiple errors, limited medical record storage space and decreased employee productivity. The hospital's manual processes also limited physician and staff accessibility to patient information and decreased the amount of time employees could devote to providing patient safety and care.

When CMH began its search for a forms automation solution, they identified three key objectives:

  • Seamless integration with their existing EHR solution
  • Flexible functionality
  • Ease of use for the hospital staff

After extensive research, the hospital found that Optio's health care solutions not only met these goals, but also offered significantly more flexibility and functionality than other systems. In comparison to competitors, CMH found that Optio was equal or superior in every category, earning its reputation as the "top forms automation package in the market", according to Linda Keifer.

In addition to Optio's Forms Automation Solutions, MedEx and MedForms, CMH selected Optio's DesignStudio solution to further extend the capabilities of their technology investment. With these solutions, the hospital is able to design forms and automate forms processing. They can also retrieve and store documents within a single, easily accessed repository and produce bar-coded documents on-demand, helping CMH decrease costs and increase efficiencies.

Optio's Forms Automation Solution, MedEx, is helping CMH enforce more stringent patient safety features. For example, MedEx works together with the hospital's pharmaceutical solution to help its staff to accurately track the administration of medication. This goal is accomplished by requiring clinicians to scan the patient wristband in addition to his/her badge and the medication prior to dispensation. Previous procedures did not require clinicians to scan the wristband, creating a potentially dangerous situation. The combined software solution helps CMH ensure the right patient is receiving the right medication at the right time.

"By becoming less reliant on paper medical records, we are helping physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians provide more informed and safer care", stated Tim Crowley, former president and chief executive officer of CMH Regional Health System.

MedEx has also helped the hospital reduce the amount of manual entry of patient information. Manual data entry can lead to errors of interpretation that compromise patient safety. Optio is helping the hospital manage version control by ensuring that the right version of each form is being used and all state-regulated forms are in place.

Based on the success realized by CMH thus far, the hospital anticipates considerable savings once staff members are fully trained and able to leverage the Optio solution to capacity. Linda Keifer cited her experience with a former employer who used Optio's solutions as the benchmark upon which she has set her expectations: "During my tenure at a larger hospital, we realized a quarter of a million dollars ($250.000) in savings in one year with Optio. I expect to see similar savings at CMH, in proportion to our size."

While ROI is important to CMH, the hospital is taking a long-term view on recouping its technology investment in both its EHR and forms automation solutions. That said, Linda Keifer admitted that she expects to realize the fastest ROI from its forms automation solution, based on reduction of paper printing and storage costs, alone.

"Having worked with Optio solutions for over a decade, I am acutely aware of the benefits we stand to gain", stated Linda Keifer. "Outside of the cost savings, our nurses and clinicians will have more time to devote to our patients, which is our top priority."

With 95 staffed beds, more than 900 employees, and a medical staff of more than 150 in 30 specialities, CMH offers a full range of medical services, including emergency, cardiology, acute care, oncology, women's and children's services, sub-acute care, rehabilitation services, surgical services, corporate health, home care, and a family medicine residency program affiliated with the University of Cincinnati.

Optio Software, with 25 years of experience and more than 5500 clients, worldwide, provides software solutions dedicated to improving, managing and controlling the complete lifecycle of document-intensive processes, while extending the value of their Enterprise Resource Planning and Hospital Information Systems. More than 5500 organisations rely on Optio Software for innovative solutions that allow them to improve business processes, reduce transactional activities and focus on core responsibilities. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, Optio Software maintains European, Middle Eastern and African (E.M.E.A.) headquarters in the United Kingdom and sales offices in the United States, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

More than 700 health care organisations use Optio's affordable, legal electronic health record (EHR), forms automation, clinical document management and advanced labeling solutions to capture, format, scan, view, sign, and archive patient information. Optio's technology delivers real-time access to patient information throughout the continuum of care, while improving patient safety and ensuring compliance with industry requirements. More company news is available in this VMW issue's article Optio Healthcare partners with E-Hospital Consulting to deliver EHR and forms automation solutions to Texas community hospitals.


Leslie Versweyveld

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