A Patient eSignature Case Study
Olmstead Medical Center
Burdens shift from staff to software
Olmsted Medical Center (OMC), a not-for-profit organization, has been southeastern Minnesota’s hometown healthcare provider since 1949. OMC’s 136 clinicians and more than 1,000 healthcare professionals serve at 16 locations, including a multispecialty clinic, a hospital with walk-in urgent care and 24-hour emergency room, two FastCare retail clinics in Rochester Shopko stores, and 10 community branch clinics. Olmsted Medical Center has more than 20 specialties and is best known for its convenient, quality personal primary care. Each year, the Olmsted Medical Center team sees 280,000 patients, performs 3,600 major surgical operations, cares for 38,000 patients in the Emergency and Urgent Care Departments, and delivers 1,000 babies.
PATIENT ESIGNATURE Case Study Highlights
- Clinical forms packets automatically updated when a new or updated form is published.
- Forms automation gives clinicians more time with patients.
- Burden moved from staff to software—the correct forms packet is automatically generated on demand.
- Seamless integration with McKesson ensures forms end up in the right patient chart.
Location: Rochester, MN
Focus: Eliminating paper chase, improving forms version control, patient ID
Departments: Registration, admissions and clinical departments
Access solutions: Intelligent eForms and Enterprise Integration
Elevating Project management expectations
Like many healthcare facilities, OMC struggled with the financial and productivity costs of managing preprinted paper forms. In the patient registration department, admitting a patient involved a registration clerk pulling the appropriate paper forms for a patient, and then stamping demographics onto each one using a machine that was expensive and time-consuming to repair.
Bonnie Anderst, then OMC’s supervisor of admissions and now a business analyst, realized that enterprise forms management could help the organization overcome these challenges. She created a multidiscipline team to evaluate forms management needs and to assess EFM vendors and products. After a thorough review, the team chose Access, a leading provider of intelligent e-forms, electronic signatures, process automation and enterprise integration software for the healthcare industry.
“Of all the e-forms management products we evaluated, Access was the easiest to use,” Anderst says.
During the selection process, the OMC cross-department team created a forms inventory and was surprised to realize just how many different forms were in use—950. They then discussed which areas would benefit most from an initial Access deployment, and settled on clinical departments. Next, Anderst and her colleagues sketched out their existing forms workflows, and made process improvements to those in need of attention.
With these steps completed, OMC worked with the Access project management team to put the forms management and workflow components of the project into action.
“Of all the vendors I’ve worked with, Access provided the best project management,” Anderst said. “They set the bar and now I expect our other vendors to level up to the same level of responsiveness.”
An integral part of OMC’s e-forms management project was converting existing paper forms to electronic versions. Anderst says that Access’s forms conversion tool was “wonderful and makes it very easy to switch to e-forms.” To date, OMC has 569 different forms in their Access e-forms repository.
“Wherever we can remove steps, we eliminate errors and so improve patient safety. That’s exactly what Access solutions are doing.”
Olmstead Medical Center Business Analyst
Eliminating Version Control Issues
Access has delivered new efficiency when OMC updates forms. Previously, nursing staff spent hours reassembling each forms packet when a form was updated, and reordering packets when new forms were introduced. Now, forms are quickly laid out, tested and published using the Access forms design tool, and automatically added to the correct packet.
“Access has saved a lot of time on our clinical floors because nurses no longer reshuffle forms packets when there’s a new form or version—it’s an instant update,” Anderst says. “They helped us build each packet before we went live, so they know they have the exact forms they need for their specific area.”
The long-term success of any IT project is just as dependent on a vendor’s postimplementation actions as it is on the deployment and product functionality. Anderst feels that Access’s support team is helping OMC get the most from its electronic forms management project.
“I can ask any question and receive a fast, well-informed response,” she says. “Throughout our project, the Access project managers, implementation consultants and support staff have gone out of their way to help us achieve our goals. I give Access an A+ for customer service.”
Speeding Clinical Processes
Prior to implementing Access, nurses sometimes ran down to patient registration to get forms for newly admitted patients. The burden also was on them to remember what forms where needed for each patient, and they performed multiple forms-related manual tasks. Now, each care area receives a patient face sheet, wristband and labels. They are then able to print their own customized forms packet right in the care area. Seamless integration between Access and OMC’s McKESSON health information system prefills patient demographics on each form, eliminating the need for the stamp machines. Anderst also believes that Access has positively impacted patient care and service.
“With Access, caregivers spend more time with patients and less on paperwork,” she says. “They also don’t have to remember which forms are required, which was always difficult in departments such as surgery, which has 97 forms packets.”