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Rush's remedy

Rush University Medical Center has implemented a distributed capture system to address its burgeoning paper volume. The Healthcare Revenue Systems division of Rush realized that it needed to replace its manual, paper-based system for handling documents. The division oversees patient billing and registration and manages such documents as explanation of benefits (EOBs), HIPAA notifications and copies of patient insurance cards, photo IDS, etc.

"As our campus expanded and we served more and more patients each year, we also saw an increase in paper volume," says Scott Halper, senior network manager, Revenue Systems. "Processing all this paper by the most efficient means possible became a major priority for the HRS department."

Rush also needed a more effective way to back up patient records for audit purposes, so the medical center began to implement an electronic document management system. With the help of systems integrator Imaging Office Systems, Rush chose in 2002 to purchase ApplicationXtender (AX) from Legato Software (now a division of EMC). The document management solution was Web-enabled and customizable so that Rush could add additional functionality when the need arose.

The next step for Rush was to select a document capture system—one that would decrease the amount of time it took for records to appear in the document management system. In the old system, documents received at patient registration stations had to be couriered to the HRS building.

"This was the bottleneck, if you will, for us," says Halper. "Not only did the documents have to be couriered from the registration stations, but also unpacked, separated, scanned, indexed and archived. Because the entire process took so long, we were becoming backlogged with patient documents."

Rush decided to implement Captovation's eCapture distributed document capture module. Called ecNet, it enables Rush to scan documents through a Web browser and send those images over Rush's campus area network to the HRS building with a click of the button. The scanning stations are located at various places around the campus. Rush also purchased eCapture's barcode recognition server, ecAutoFile Server.

"The combined components require little to no manual intervention except for the initial capture process at the registration stations," says Halper. "This has greatly improved our document management procedures."

Rush officials also foresee using ecNet/AX for other hospital applications, such as patient medical charts, according to Captovation.

Rush University Medical Center, located in Chicago, consists of a 824-bed hospital, Rush Children's Hospital, Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University.

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