MMCH Rehabilitation Center chooses Chart Links for niche-specific solution and hospital information system interface capabilities
Margaret Mary Community Hospital (www.mmch.org) in Batesville, Indiana, runs an off-site Outpatient Rehabilitation Center that handles more than 15,000 patient visits annually. The rehab facility employs 21 therapists providing physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Other services include work conditioning, sports medicine, balance, lymphedema, low vision and pediatric therapies. Aquatic therapy is offered at the local YMCA.
The rehab center had been using the hospital’s information system for documentation and billing and a manual, paper-based system for scheduling. Although the hospital system allowed some modification to accommodate documentation of the center’s special services, rehab center managers began to look for an end-to-end, niche-specific software solution that would assure documentation accuracy, improve workflow, save time, streamline scheduling and generally make life easier for a totally rehab-focused facility.
“We reviewed several different software options before narrowing our search to three companies,” said Carmen Pride, physical therapy manager and project manager on the search team. “After conducting extensive web demos and then comprehensive on-site demos of the three product finalists, we chose Chart Links. They definitely stood out and we especially liked the way their application looked.”
“We wanted to continue to use our primary EMR as the central point for our patients’ summary of care and billing records,” said Donna Nobbe, information systems director. “Therefore, our requirements for this project included a series of interfaces. Chart Links had experience doing this work with our hospital EMR vendor and provided valuable interface documentation.”
The MMCH Rehabilitation Center launched Chart Links in January 2009. “I totally expected the first day of ‘go live’ to be really crazy and haywire,” remarked Pride. “We sat in a room waiting to problem solve and expecting to help steer people through a hectic transition. But no problems came! That first day – and since – everything with the Chart Links system has been smooth and seamless. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Chart Links solution exceeds rehab center’s expectations
MMCH has realized a full range of benefits, well beyond expectations:
Insurance reimbursement is significantly faster. Before, it took an average of 90 days until bills were sent out. Now, the timeframe is under 30 days. “This was made possible by the customized interface Chart Links created for us,” noted Pride. “Our billing is still distributed through Hospital’s primary EMR, but the Chart Links solution has streamlined and accelerated the process. We get our insurance monies in the door much more quickly now.”
Compliant documentation is more accurate and worry-free. “We’re billing now with far less anxiety about errors because of Chart Links,” said Pride. “CCI edits, for example, have improved. Chart Links automatically notifies you of CCI edits so we don’t have to catch them on the backside or lose payments because we billed two procedures instead of one. Chart Links is our first line of defense, letting us know immediately if there’s a problem.”
Scheduling is more organized, streamlined and accurate. Prior to Chart Links, the MMCH rehab facility scheduled manually with an appointment book (referred to as ‘the Bible’) which often resulted in confusion and error. “It was very unorganized,” said Pride. “There were too many therapists and not enough spaces to write in. Patients sometimes showed up when we didn’t expect them.”
The Chart Links solution has not only streamlined the scheduling process and cleaned up the errors but has also made the process completely user-friendly and intuitive. Unlike the other complicated-looking schedulers the rehab center management had considered, the Chart Links scheduler appears on the screen exactly like a book, a format the staff was very comfortable with. “The Chart Links scheduler was so easy to use and get used to that the staff abandoned ‘the Bible’ on day two of go-live rather than the six months they thought they would need to transition,” remarked Pride.
The workflow of the application makes sense, reflecting the way a therapist works and reports. “Everything on the screen is organized and logical,” said Pride. “It’s Windows based operating system is a superior advantage. Print Preview, for example, depicts what the chart note will actually look like, a huge improvement over what we had. Even the range of motion measurements come out neater and, therefore, easier to read by the physician. Everything just looks better and flows better.”
The Chart Links Analytics option is a huge time-saver. “With Analytics, you can look at specific programs and find out which ones are doing well or not,” noted Pride about the Chart Links ad-hoc reporting tool. “You can pull anything out of the system you want and analyze the data. Where month-end statistics would take an enormous amount of time to assemble with our old manual system, now we can run a report almost instantly.”
Customer service has been superb right from the start. “Another major selling-point of Chart Links is their depth of rehab knowledge and their willingness and eagerness to share that expertise with us,” noted Pride. “We get very few vendors who have given us the customer service that Chart Links does,” said Trisha Prickel, manager of information system services. “They have responded to help desk questions at night and have been available to check the system after hours. I have been very impressed.”