“After implementing Biscom’s fax solutions, user complaints plummeted and we haven’t missed any orders since. This has enhanced our credibility internally as well.” – Sherry Chilton, Director of Admissions
St. Anthony’s Medical Center is the third-largest medical center in the St. Louis metropolitan area and has been serving the community for over 130 years. With more than 4,000 employees, St. Anthony’s provides a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical, diagnostic, emergency, and behavioral health services to more than 225,000 patients each year.
A key element of St. Anthony’s Medical Center’s operations consists of coordinating physician orders for service, such as MRIs, x-rays, and CAT scans, within the main medical campus and at a number of off-campus “service points.” An order is faxed to the appropriate point, where the patient is matched with his or her order, the test conducted, and the results uploaded to a ChartMaxx medical records system.
Unfortunately, this process of manual faxing didn’t always run smoothly. When a patient could not be matched with an order, the service point was required to locate that order. Corporate policy dictated that the physician be consulted as a last resort, requiring service points to contact every other point about missing faxes.
The fact that all service points maintained individual fax numbers exacerbated the problem. A great deal of confusion and frustration resulted when orders or patients went to the wrong destination. This also can contribute to physician burnout.
Human error was inevitable with a volume of up to 25,000 fax pages per month, unfortunately, with legacy fax machines, tracking and auditing were unavailable. Neither sender nor recipient could verify an order’s status. More importantly, St. Anthony’s was at a high risk of violating HIPAA regulations by sending sensitive patient information to the wrong place. The medical center required a fax solution that was auditable, simpler, more effective, and more economical.
Biscom utilized a sophisticated set of fax and document management tools to solve St. Anthony’s challenges. The first step was the installation of a FAXCOM fax server, providing electronic faxing for all parties. This upgrade resulted in immediate improvements, including paper reduction and enhanced HIPAA compliance.
Second, the Biscom solution began to intelligently route faxes based on content—vastly simplifying the ordering process. Physicians now set up appointments for any test at any location by sending one fax to one number. “We used to get a lot of complaints about having too many numbers and too many lost faxes,” said Sherry Chilton, director of admissions for St. Anthony’s Medical Center. “Then we went from 18 different numbers to one. We honestly thought this could not possibly be so easy.”
In order to simplify tracking and auditing, Biscom also implemented their Enterprise Workflow Application. This powerful tool extracts information from faxes via optical character recognition (OCR) and takes into account fax metadata, such as time sent, sender’s number, fax length, and more. Any user at any location can search using a variety of criteria (date, time, location, patient’s name, etc.) and instantly view images of the original fax document and all associated data. Any order can be found any time and at any service point—without ever having to pick up the phone.
“Biscom’s auditing system is awesome,” said Chilton. “in the past, we had issues with parties claiming a fax had been sent and recipients having no way to verify that. Now, we can audit all activity and search for faxes by date and time, creating a new level of accountability on both sides.”
Implementation and Support
Despite Biscom’s breadth of functionality and experience, St. Anthony’s did not initially consider its services. “There were two other vendors offering document management tools that already had products in our organization,” said Chilton. “Our IS department didn’t want to deal with a new vendor, but our research showed that Biscom was superior and we pushed hard for its solution.”
The competing product simply didn’t have the capability to manipulate data to the same extent as Biscom’s Enterprise Workflow Application. Users couldn’t search faxes using multiple data fields, and the products themselves weren’t as robust or their attributes as easy to modify.
At the same time, Biscom’s legendary service also made a compelling case. “We thought this would take much longer to build, but Biscom moved forward very quickly,” said Chilton. “The most important thing was that Biscom explained how everything worked and always delivered exactly what they promised. They’re the first vendor we’ve worked with that has guaranteed something and actually delivered.”
St. Anthony’s test ordering workflow process is now smoother than ever. “We haven’t had any missed orders since the implementation,” reported Chilton.
Biscom’s FAXCOM fax server and Enterprise Workflow Solution have made the center’s compliance with HIPAA regulations much easier. All documents are sent electronically; there’s no paper left in the fax machines. In the case of a HIPAA audit, it’s now possible to prove not only who sent a fax and who received it, but also which users had access to sensitive information and when.
After an initial rollout to 18 departments, Biscom’s centralized solution is now supporting over 40 departments. Besides admissions, other departments have streamlined their workflows regarding patient histories and physical workups. Physicians and case managers are using the system to communicate directly with insurance companies via desktop facing. Participation is high and use of the system is expected to grow.
“Satisfaction levels for physicians, patients, and service providers have improved dramatically,” said Chilton. “This has enhanced our credibility internally as well. A lot of our savings are ‘soft’, but user complaints have plummeted, and, to me, that’s priceless!”
St. Anthony’s Medical Center
St. Louis, MO
- Manual faxing of 25,000 faxes/month
- Errors caused orders and patients to be sent to wrong locations
- Legacy fax machines meant tracking and auditing were not available
Biscom FAXCOM Server and Workflow
- Improved productivity, fewer errors, eliminate manual faxing
- Enhanced employee and patient satisfaction
- Reduced costs and paper
- Eliminated lost orders via fax
"Biscom’s auditing system is awesome. In the past, we had issues with parties claiming a fax had been sent and recipients having no way to verify that. Now, we can audit all activity and search for faxes by date and time, creating a new level of accountability on both sides."
Director of Admissions
"Our IS department didn’t want to deal with a new vendor, but our research showed that Biscom was superior and we pushed hard for its solution."
Director of Admissions