Justify Before you Buy: Automated Capture for Clinical Data - Part 3

You finally found the perfect solution to problem of getting data out of documents and into your EMR or other system. It’s a system that automates this data entry and the workflows surrounding the entire document handling and quality assurance processes. Now it’s time to go ask for permission (budget) to purchase this solution.

In the first and second blogs in this series, we began by detailing the first and most basic area of justification that needs to be laid out, medical assistants’ time and additional staffing requirements and continued by looking at the improvements that are brought to Quality of Care of your patients. What about other effects on all the other clinical staff in your department and organization?

Clinician workflow improvements:

  • Improve EHR adoption by providing clinical staff faster access to a single source for data in EHR.
  • No more searching through paper or PDF attachments, they will find everything they need in the EHR.

Suggested calculations:

  • Tactical: Estimate the reduction in time for them to be available to clinicians and estimate how much time clinical staff saves in just needing to find data in the EHR and not search through paper or documents attached to the patient record.
  • Strategic: Estimate how much this data is made available to clinicians in other departments to help that same patient and save that physicians time in being able to easily access and review the information. Add that value of this to your ROI arguments.

Less repeated tests due to delayed or lost results

Suggested calculations:

  • Tactical: Estimate the number of times tests are reordered in a given time frame and associate the cost savings (test costs, rescheduling appointments due to missing results, clinicians time spent looking for and re-ordering results, FTE’s time in re-ordering) as results are more likely to be received, inputted and found in a timely manner with an automated solution
  • Strategic: Extrapolate the benefits to others in departments accessing the same information and the possibility of this system expanding to eventually solve the same problem in other departments if applicable.

Workflow improvements

Suggested calculations:

  • Tactical: By reducing the time spent collecting results from fax machine, delivering results to ordering clinicians, organizing results to prepare for order entry, and automating the lab order reconciliation process, the handling of duplicates, and the delivery of results to records, there is a multitude of costs savings and quality of care improvements that could be estimated based on the details of specific department.
  • Strategic: Think of the longer term and broader implications of these improvements and include your estimations of the savings and quality of care improvements that will come from them for your department and other departments as well.

Staff Satisfaction – using clinical staff for patient care and not data entry can have both tactical and strategic implications:

  • Tactical: Reducing staff turnaround and improving quality of care with more satisfied staff can reduce the day to day costs of having to hire and train new staff. Analyze your current turnover and estimate if any could be avoided by lessening the administrative burdens on your clinical staff.
  • Strategic: The long term value of your program is very much tied to experienced and happy staff, who are the face to the customer. Consider how improving workflows around data in documents could improve staff consistency, productivity and satisfaction in the long term.

About the Author: Ellen Bzomowski

With 20 years of experience in data capture and voice recognition, Ellen’s experience has focused on achieving higher efficiencies and automation in getting data where it will be most useful to an organization. At Extract Systems, she continues to focus on the same ideas and works to get the word out about how Extract Systems’ advanced data capture and redaction solutions make more data valuable and accessible, while securing anything that is private. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University and lives and works in Boston.