Bringing Health Records Into The 21st Century
Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is a group of five hospitals serving 2.2-million residents in Southwestern Ontario. With over 1,500 physicians and more than 8,000 professional staff, HHS treats 600,000+ patients annually - more than a quarter of the area's population base.
HHS had begun implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution including a document management system capable of handling 12-million hard copy pages of records annually. At any given time, 700,000 active paper charts and 1,500 unique forms were being used and filed, requiring four multi-site file rooms and 53 staff members. However, HHS lacked the in-house expertise to manage the paper conversion production process.
HHS outsourced their non-core health records processes which included the production, preparation, scanning, indexing and quality control processes associated with scanned paper records. Octacom was chosen as HHS's partner due to their expertise in providing document conversion services requiring no capital investment.
Octacom managed HHS's major challenges including creating a secure, digital repository for archiving patient information; substantially reducing record filing space; allowing for remote chart completion and coding from a scanned record and eliminating paper records retrieval and delivery.
Octacom helped the hospital system bridge the gap between its current record system and going fully digital, a key interim step that enables nearly 6,000 users (including almost 800 physicians and 5,200 health care workers) to become comfortable working in an electronic environment.
Each day, 40,000 pages of paper patient charts are converted within tight turn-around requirements while maintaining a high level of quality output. 72 million patient records have been scanned to date.
Octacom delivers all conversions within 24 hours of receiving material from the hospitals: ER records are available in 6 hours; Same Day Surgery records available in 12 hours and Inpatient records available within 18 - 24 hours.
With Octacom as their partner, HHS's health records department has become "a department without walls". Coders were moved offsite as they don't need to be where paper is generated, providing space for expanded clinical activity and record storage space has been substantially reduced.
Octacom also installed hardware and software; redesigned workflow in the records management department; redesigned and standardized all patient record forms and developed system-to-system feeds for on-line clinical information. Octacom trained HHS's skilled staff and provided best practice models.
With Octacom's conversion and retrieval system, HHS's health records management has been simplified and costs reduced. The system has expanded to include the scanning of human resources files.
Other hospitals within the LHIN are beginning to convert to octacom's system, including regional Family Health Teams and Community Care Access Centres (CCAC).