Document Manager: A Project Worth Completing

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By Sandra Haig 
Executive Director, IT & Revenue Cycle, Fidelity Health Care
Document Management Solutions for Home Health

Following up on each outstanding document once every 14 days doesn’t sound like an overly ambitious goal. But add up the patients we serve in a year, and the home health division of Fidelity Health Care generates a lot of documents.

Until recently, faxes and spreadsheets were the main tools used for this job, with documents printed and distributed once a week. In addition to being costly in terms of paper and time, staffers only managed to hit that 14-day mark about 50% of the time for the 7,000 or so documents that were outstanding at any given time.

After implementing the Doc Manager functionality in the Homecare Advisor™ solution from Change Healthcare, our paper usage is down significantly, spreadsheets are a thing of the past, and we distribute documents daily. Most importantly, we follow up on 90% of outstanding documents every 14 days. In addition, we’ve reduced documents older than 60 days from their complete date from 38% to 21%.

Managing change

However, moving to Doc Manager involves more than simply installing it, turning it on and asking people to use it. Although training on the interface takes less than an hour, changing processes is more complex.

As part of the implementation, you’ll want to evaluate your processes and revise them as needed. It makes little sense to move ungainly workarounds and duplicative tasks into a brand-new system—take this opportunity to streamline workflow so you can use all the efficiencies provided by Doc Manager.

For example, a cross-functional team will need to discuss and decide what document delivery methods you want to use, what tracking codes are needed and how they’ll be used, and how to use the Physician Groups field.

Our agency uses a variety of delivery methods, including the physician portal, Web Chart, email, fax, courier, electronic signature, and mail. Note that you can customize the method for each physician, based on his/her preference. We included the mail option as a last resort for two physicians who do not have a fax machine.

We initially planned to have just a few tracking codes, but as we used the system, we discovered how useful codes were and added one for each follow-up activity. For example, in addition to codes for issues with documents and document escalation, we have a code that indicates a physician is out of the country for an extended period. Indeed, expanding the number of codes proved the only way to finally eliminate the various spreadsheets in use.

Our plan for the Physician Groups field also changed. Rather than specifying practice names as originally intended, we gave each follow-up representative a code and labeled all the physicians under their purview with that code. This allows each rep to quickly filter out all documents not part of their assigned group. If tracking information is already available for the document, they click on it to see the history. If it’s not available, they know it’s new and begin the follow-up process with the physician.

Additional benefits

We’re also able to use the tracking history to evaluate productivity for staff members. Previously, the information arrived in report form, but this feature is incorporated into the program in Release 14.2. The data from the report has been valuable, helping us prove one staffer was accomplishing only one-third of the tasks as others in her role.

For our organization, Doc Manager proved to be more than a new way to check in and track documents. It also streamlined our printing process, gave us the ability to specify different delivery methods, helped us add document tracking codes to show follow-up activities, and replaced the myriad custom reports and spreadsheets being used by physician order staff.

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