When a hospital IT/IS team identifies problems, we often just want a system that will fix them and a vendor to deliver it. This is sometimes just fine, but can lead to you ending up with many more applications to maintain, each of which only does one specific thing, often only in one department. This is on top of managing Meditech or whatever your HIS is, plus all your clinical and admin systems. We’ve already got enough to do!
At Norman Regional, we recognized a few years back that pre-printed paper forms were becoming a real hassle. They were costing money, put a burden on staff to remember which forms go with which patient, and required admissions clerks and nurses to label each form. We had version control issues because when we added a new form or updated one, it was nearly impossible to pull all the old versions from file cabinets, nursing carts and work stations. And when we decided to add Scanning and Archiving to our Meditech solution, it became clear that the HIM team would waste a lot of time on a manual process, scanning and indexing every form. Time they didn’t have. If there was a mistake, forms could end up in the wrong patient chart.
We looked at quite a few companies to help with forms management and, despite the fact that they’re based in Texas and we’re diehard Sooners fans, chose Access. Why? Because of what they had as well as eforms, like electronic patient signature. We first implemented e-signature alongside their forms on demand piece to completely get rid of paper in admissions and on clinical floors. To be honest, it had some rough edges. We provided a lot of feedback to Access and what was unusual for a vendor, they actually listened! We’re now on our third version, and all the things we asked for – such as the system being server based, not needing third party software at each signature device, and the ability to get a report showing signing deficiencies if patients are rushed to a room and can’t complete their forms – are now part of Access’s e-signature product.
But that’s not even the best example of how Access works with us. About four years ago, we realized that the way we were processing EKG output wasn’t working so well. Our nurses were printing EKG traces to be signed, and then scanning them back in – something that took a while and delayed billing and patient care. If a cardiologist wanted to review a batch of EKGs in the middle of the night, the traces weren’t in the charts because there was nobody around to scan them. We needed to do better.
Within 45 days Access had a proof of concept for a clinical data bridge that’d capture EKG traces, convert them to a PDF with the patient and document IDs and send them into Meditech SCA. No more keying in data or dealing with long paper strips. In another couple of weeks we were testing the system, and a week later it went live. Problem solved. To me, that’s the difference between a partner and a vendor.