Merge recently attended the Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) Paradigm conference in Chicago. Among the show's hottest topics was the importance of hassle-free registration, and Merge was honored to co-lead a compelling panel discussion entitled, "The Tangible Benefits of a Paperless Registration Process."
The panel included Jeff Tumbleson, Chief Information Officer for Outpatient Imaging Affiliates
(OIA); John Kass, VP Health Strategy, Bottomline Technologies; and Julie Pekarek, VP Solutions Management for Merge. The discussion centered on the many factors patients consider when choosing their medical providers including convenience and the expectation that patient information should be available electronically. To meet these demands (and others) in an increasingly consumer-driven healthcare market, Merge has partnered with Bottomline Technologies to create a paperless registration solution focused on patient satisfaction.
The Need to go Paperless
OIA, an organization that works with healthcare providers to develop, market and operate quality outpatient imaging centers, uses Merge RIS
™ and Bottomline Technologies' eCapture
to tackle paperless registration. Prior to implementing the paperless solution, patients were handed a clipboard with multiple forms to fill out, they did the paperwork, returned the clipboard, and staff would then manually type that information into the system.
"But today, patients and stakeholders are expecting to receive information on their phone,
tablet, or computer – at a minimum," said Pekarek. "Handing them a clipboard isn't
"And from a quality standpoint, it's tough to take that information and make it useful with messy handwriting," added Tumbleson. However, with eCapture, patients now have the opportunity to enter their signature directly on the iPad, which flows into the RIS along with all of the patients' other information.
Redesigning Workflow and Seeing Results
The paperless registration program addresses a variety of issues including knowledge gaps. "We see everyone from age 3 to age 73, so it can be challenging handing them an iPad," said Tumbleson. "We redesigned our entire workflow. Now our front desk people are like the Southwest ticketing folks – on the lookout for patients facing challenges completing each section properly."
Since OIA went live with paperless registration, the organization has reduced the time spent processing registration forms by 20 percent across the board. "That is a huge savings for our staff at the front desk. There are far fewer questions patients need to ask when filling out the form, and the data automatically flows into our document management solution," he said.
Beyond the staff and workflow improvements, OIA has also seen an improvement in patient satisfaction. Patients are embracing the technology and the easy user interface on the iPad. "I am excited to continue using this solution and look forward to seeing more improvements over time," he said.
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