A Fortune 100, National Healthcare Provider solicited companies within the records management and storage arena to submit their recommendations and solutions for managing a sizeable physical record inventory that was being handled by a national provider of these services for the Houston area. They, as a Healthcare Provider, were propelled to take action due to the continuous transformation of technology, their expectations of business costs, and a reevaluation of acceptable service expectations for their records management vendor.
Key areas requested to address were as follows: 1) How to control escalating costs for ongoing management of the physical records collection. 2) How to reduce the frequent occurrences of requested records not being found and delivered. 3) How the organization would improve responsiveness & support levels in the routine interaction between the Health Information Management Directors and the vendor for each of their facilities. 4) How to consistently achieve records inventory destruction in a timely fashion to meet compliance requirements.
This National Healthcare Provider (Which operates many facilities within Southeast Texas), had been utilizing a National Records Storage & Management Provider since the early ’90s. Over time, their collection of physical paper records, radiology studies, and pathology Blocks and Slides had grown to several hundred thousand containers. The institution implemented an Electronic Health Record Solution in 2014; however, they continue to have high activity on the records going back into the early 2000s. The majority of the stored clinical records were in an open shelving environment that was costly, prone to misfiles, and provided a gaping hole in accountability to records custody. Over time, the number of files not found escalated to a level that was significantly impacting the quality of patient care by the healthcare facility. When the Healthcare provider tried to interact with their provider, they had no success in identifying a solution to address these issues and therefore decided to look at alternative solutions.
To mitigate risk for the Healthcare provider and to validate the proposed solution, VeriTrust’s initial strategy included a pilot of three facilities. The pilot facilities were the entities that were experiencing the most significant number of files not found and contained the most active inventory. VeriTrust’s solution comprised the following elements:
- To mitigate the perm-out fees incurred from the previous vendor, VeriTrust credited storage costs for 12 months to reduce the transition costs during the first year of the agreement to level the expense to the Healthcare Provider;
- 100% of the open shelving files and radiology studies were indexed into containers per each file type (elimination of open shelved records);
- VeriTrust analyzed the collection activity and created a file-level inventory for a subset of the collection that reflected activity. The data was captured and uploaded into VeriTrust’s client portal, without any additional upfront expense to the Healthcare Provider;
- During the transition, VeriTrust established a full communication plan. This plan included brief weekly calls with client’s site representation reviewing detailed status, periodic reviews with executive management, and the establishment of user training programs in two formats; a) for daily power users, on-site within a small group setting, b) for light users, on-line training, short-cut tools as supplements, and retraining as needed.
The solution VeriTrust implemented addressed all four components of the requirements that the Healthcare provider communicated. Significantly reduce costs for the management of the collection, significantly reduce/eliminate the file-not-found issues, improvement in the daily interaction with front line HIM directors, and the timely destruction of inventory. VeriTrust’s solution reduced the overall annual cost for managing the collection by 27% from the previous provider. VeriTrust found over 20% of the inventory, retained unnecessarily. With the implementation of the file level tracking, files thought to be previously lost, were found, and VeriTrust was able to fulfill 99.99% of file requests.
As a result of the successful pilot, the Healthcare provider moved forward with transferring inventory from twenty (20) additional facilities, and VeriTrust mirrored the process used for the first three facilities for these additional ones.
As this Fortune 100, Healthcare provider continues to grow and acquire new facilities, VeriTrust continues to work as an ongoing partner to provide solutions that reflect high standards for quality, service, and compliance; while continuing to manage costs and maintain invoice transparency.