Austin Radiological Association Case Study
www.ausrad.com Austin, Texas
“Corepoint Health’s support team is very knowledgeable regarding our processes and extremely accommodating to our needs. It has been a great match of people and technology applied to our processes.”
Austin Radiological Association’s (ARA) mission is to provide the highest quality of care to referring physicians and patients. Through the organization’s commitment to innovation and state-of-the-art-technologies (ARA) has dutifully cared for the regional community of central Texas for 53 years. ARA has led the nation in filmless outpatient imaging since 2001. Today, ARA is one of the largest providers of outpatient imaging in Central Texas with more than 70 radiologists in 13 outpatient imaging centers including physicians with subspecialty training in interventional radiology, diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology, body imaging, mammography and women’s imaging, musculoskeletal imaging, nuclear medicine and pediatric radiology.
Healthcare Interfacing Challenges
When faced with a paper centered billing process and the desire to automate, ARA created a multi-disciplinary team comprised of ARA IT employees and ARA Business Office employees to then optimize three software applications.
At the end of the fourteen month design, test and implementation, ARA successfully automated ninety percent of its paper charge posting volume and decrease staff levels 75%.
Secondly, ARA was beginning to receive requests from business partners and clients to provide HL7 is a Standards Developing Organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to author consensus-based standards representing a board view from healthcare system stakeholders. HL7 has compiled a collection of message form... More messaging between ARA’s radiology information system and partner/client Electronic Medical Record (EMR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be... More systems. ARA desired an HL7 development environment and engine so that partner/client messaging interfaces could be written without relying on the Radiology Information System (RIS) is the main application in an imaging center or radiology department. RIS is used by to store, manipulate and distribute patient radiological data and imagery. RIS are used for patient scheduling, tracking, and imag... More vendor—saving time and money.
Streamlining and automating billing workflow and business operations, including:
- Use HL7 interfaces to integrate multiple applications at the client site to ARA.
- Improve a manual, cumbersome process ridden with many potential failure points.
- Find needed billing workflow improvements to accurately handle approximately 750,000 charges per year.
- Eliminate the need to manage the paper that were received in multiple formats from multiple sources (fax, printer, postal service, courier).
- Improve proccess where paper patient demographics sheets (facesheets) and paper radiology reports were handled/touched, 6-7 times, in order to create a single charge for the service(s) the radiologist was rendering.
Jason Wilson, Software Engineering Manager:
Corepoint Integration Engine™ is used to interface with the following systems at ARA:
- GE Centricity RIS (formerly IDX Imagecast).
- Fuji Synapse Picture Archiving Communication Systems (PACS) are devoted to the storage, retrieval, distribution, and presentation of images. The medical images are stored in an independent format, most commonly DICOM. Synonyms: Picture Archiving Communication ... More.
- GE Centricity Practice Management (formerly IDX Groupcast).
- Commissure Digital Dictation.
- “Coderview” – Internally developed application that marries demographic information with reports for ease of coding.
ARA used Corepoint Integration Engine as a critical architectural component of their automated billing process in efforts to eliminate paper methods. Corepoint Integration Engine is configured to accomplish the following tasks:
- Accept the feeds (HL7 and proprietary) for the demographic information from the different hospitals and then parse and normalize data before inserting into a database.
- Retrieve data from a database and executes conditional processing based on ARA’s extensive business logic.
- Create appropriate HL7 charge message (DFT) and route to the billing system in the required format.
Benefits realized through the billing automation included:
- 75% savings in FTE’s (Full Time Employees).
- Reduced manual paper “touches” for each charge along with human errors.
- Decreased exception rate to 10% from first month of implementation.
- Improved customer satisfaction with accurate and timely billing.
With Corepoint Integration Engine, ARA was able to deploy a fully integrated solution to one of their largest clients, Austin Regional Clinic (ARC), quickly and efficiently.
External interfaces to clients provided the following:
- Electronic workflow for clinical data including orders and results.
- Elimination of multiple registrations of same patient – at the clinic and at ARA.
- Modality worklist was automatically populated for the work at the clinic.
- Communication to PACS regarding order via interface.
Benefits of the integrating to the client:
- Improved turn-around time and overall delivery of final reports.
- Reduced manual effort in registration, resulting in one FTE savings.
- Converted the client from analog to digital imaging.
- Prevent manual data entry errors common when re-keying data in multiple systems.
- Ensure a strong relationship with their client through a higher tier of technology and service offerings, providing a unique and innovative client offering with electronic workflow specific to the client.
Todd Thomas, CIO:
“By focusing on and automating our billing workflow, we have realized a significant reduction in data entry errors and an expeditious less labor-intensive posting of charge transactions. Corepoint Integration Engine facilitated the delivery of these two large benefits by automating and transforming the data flow between systems.
We have also used Corepoint Integration Engine to interface with our clients, thus providing them a higher level of service. The interface engine was core to moving the correct messaging between ARA and our client site. Corepoint Integration Engine’s features and flexibility allowed us to “go-live” with that solution in sixty days.
An important key element to both of these projects was getting the right data in the right format. Leveraging the HL7 standard was essential, and it was the hardest thing to learn. Fortunately, once we selected Corepoint Integration Engine, it simplified our ability to support workflow that required HL7; the tool was easy to work with and implement. I am very pleased with the workflow improvements we are able to implement and the numerous ways in which Corepoint Integration Engine’s flexibility and efficiency assisted us in our endeavors. Corepoint Health’s integration software has enabled operational improvements for our practice and, in turn, enhanced our client satisfaction.
Beyond the technology are the people. Corepoint Health’s support team is very knowledgeable regarding our processes and extremely accommodating to our needs. It has been a great match of people and technology applied to our processes.”
Laura Casey, Business Office Director:
“Everyone in radiology is talking about workflow in some form or fashion. Because there is no standardization to the information we receive from outside entities, we decided to control our own destiny, and put a plan in place to automate our workflow. We chose to start with one of our more challenging areas—billing.
Our billing workflow was manual and time-consuming. Now, with Corepoint Integration Engine in the middle, our billing workflow is automated and extremely efficient. We realized the benefits of implementing Corepoint Integration Engine into our billing workflow on the very first day. Corepoint Integration Engine has exceeded my expectations in every way. With Corepoint Health, we transformed our workflow from a lumbering complex paper shuffle to a sleek automated process that saves trees. The change has been positive, amazing and tangible.
After one month, our exception rate was 10%, and the rate continues to decrease. As we continue to find new ways to utilize Corepoint Integration Engine, we fully expect to optimize more workflow. It’s awesome. I love it.”