By working with eHealth Connect®, a Surgical Oncology Department at a midwestern academic medical center saw an 87% decrease in the amount of staff time spent retrieving medical records for their referred patients—and records were received nearly 65% sooner.
Today’s patients have many options for care and access to specialists is more available than ever before. Hospitals and facilities are seeing more and more patients from across the country walk through their doors for specialized procedures, second opinions, and treatment plans.
As with many healthcare facilities, this midwestern academic medical center scheduled referred oncology patients from many locations and tasked staff and clinicians with tracking down medical records from disparate systems. This time-consuming and inefficient effort left staff frustrated, records often incomplete, and patients waiting. Beginning with a pilot program in 2016, the center’s surgical oncology department turned to eHealth Technologies to retrieve and organize its patient records. Within the first few months after implementation, the department’s average wait time to receive records dropped from 10 to 3.6 days and staff spent an average of 87% less time gathering them.
Increasing Time with Patients
With patients coming from 20 states, oncology staff spent an average of 12 hours a day—or 240 hours a month—reaching out to 1,800 providers for medical records. With eHealth Connect® Record Retrieval, this time was reduced to an average of 1.5 hours a day, allowing staff to devote nearly 210 additional hours a month directly to patient care. “I am now able to manage more tasks and have more time with patients,” said one oncology nurse. “I can now make more phone calls and visits with patients in the hospital after surgery. All of this bridges the gap and helps with the transition of care.”
At the start of the project, three full time surgical oncology nurses managed record retrieval. After implementing the eHealth Connect solution, the department was able to reconfigure responsibilities, shifting it to patient coordinators and making it possible for nurses to spend more time with patients. “This pilot has transformed several of our clinic’s processes for the better.” administrator, Surgical Oncology department, Midwestern Academic Medical Center.
“This pilot has transformed several of our clinic’s processes for the better.
Administrator, Surgical Oncology department, Midwestern Academic Medical Center
Gathering Records is Easier
Tracking down records for hundreds of patients is a daunting and tiresome process. Of those surveyed, 100% of staff respondents at the midwestern academic medical center said they strongly agreed that eHealth Technologies made the records collection process easier and made them more efficient at their jobs. Additionally, 100% agreed they did not want to return to the previously used system where staff or patients reached out to offices to gather records on their own.
Supporting Patients and Faster Treatment
Facing a cancer diagnosis and surgery is a stressful situation for patients. Referred patients often have records from many different hospitals and physicians—and these are vital for a proper diagnosis and creating a treatment plan. “A patient told me that other hospitals wanted him to gather all of his records,” said a surgical oncology nurse. “He commented that he was too sick to be running around gathering records, and that our record collection process put him at ease.”
After implementation, surgical oncology patients were able to have lifesaving surgery they needed sooner and the average time from initial appointment to surgery reduced from 19 days to just under a week. Additionally, the academic medical center experienced a decrease in “no show” appointments—going from an average of 8% for new patients down to less than .01%.
Growth and Expansion
With the unprecedented success of the pilot, the surgical department made recommendations to other departments to consider eHealth Technologies for its record retrieval and organization needs. To date, 15 departments have partnered with eHealth Technologies and have experienced astounding results for their patients and staff. The value of eHealth Technologies’ services are evident in the ongoing growth and utilization of services.
Record request submission volumes have increased over 80% since the initial pilot and the average turn-around-time for medical record collection is approximately 4 days across all departments. Providing fast, easy access to records for referred patients has helped this midwestern academic medical center streamline their intake and new patient scheduling processes, and allow clinical teams to focus on what they value the most—patient care.
* A Surgical Oncology department at a midwestern academic medical center. eHealth Technologies shares success stories while protecting the confidentiality of our client as needed in a competitive business environment.