Hospital Finds Workflow Automation Solution


The Children’s Hospital of Boston, MA, a 392-bed comprehensive center for pediatric health care, records approximately 18,000 inpatient admissions each year, which translates to more than 150 outpatient programs and emergency services care for more than 300,000 patients annually.

Children’s Hospital, home to the world’s largest pediatric research facility with 1,200 driven scientists and staff, has made it their goal to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the medical care through automation. Today they access and send information faster than ever before having set up a workflow automation environment for their electronic health records (EHRs). The hospital did not want to completely alter the way work flowed into each department but rather streamline the process to enable better collaboration between departments by centralizing patient data, and helping their staff become more productive.

Children’s Hospital Boston identified that too much of the staff’s time was being swallowed up by burdensome paper management activities. The hospital had deployed a document publishing environment long ago that had grown outdated and was lacking in facilities for online documentation and collaboration. For instance, the legacy document management system wasn’t able to support Office 2000.

The hospital wanted a system that could support a large volume of different types of documents. By leveraging its existing investment in HP and Ricoh MFPs, the hospital achieves a fast, secure electronic document workflow solution using AutoStore.

The Cure to Navigating Thousands of Files
Children’s Hospital addressed the thousands of paper-based patient records located in numerous departments with some dating back as far as the mid-1960s but due to HIPAA regulations needed to be kept and archive. Managing these files was difficult, as they were hard to navigate and locate as well as took up a great deal of physical space in each department. There was also a great need for sharing vital patient information within departments, which was happening but taking too much time and requiring a great deal of internal effort. What was happening was that time sensitive requests started with an e-mail inquiry or conversation between departments that often required lots of follow up e-mails and in person clarifications.

To achieve maximum efficiency, time and cost savings, the hospital wanted to implement AutoStore to replace cumbersome paper-based patient files with a fast, secure and more efficient electronic solution. In evaluating many different technology options, Children’s Hospital instituted help from NSi because of its expertise in the area of workflow management. NSi was tasked with keeping the distributed document capture and workflow process easy enough for Children’s staff to use and find beneficial. The hospital did not want to completely alter the way work flowed into each department but rather streamline the process to enable better collaboration between departments. By centralizing patient data, the staff would be able to work in a more efficient, productive manner.

Managing Multiple MFDs
Children’s Hospital had a list of criteria that needed to be met prior to choosing AutoStore. For instance, the software solution needed to work seamlessly with their existing HP hardware as well as their more recent addition of Ricoh multi-function devices (MFDs). This is where AutoStore came in handy because it can integrate with a wide range of hardware from numerous vendors. Users were already comfortable with the “scan to e-mail” functionality on the HP MFD but wanted to incorporate the AutoStore as a workflow platform that could incorporate MFD functionality in the day-to-day tasks. The goal was to provide various departments with a common understanding that would improve collaboration, shorten the learning curve, simplify IT administration and create a common culture throughout the hospital. Additionally staff liked how AutoStore offered the capability of routing captured information based on predefined rules to ensure compliance and the hospital’s regulations would be met. It provided a powerful and compelling workflow solution to address the hospital’s capture, processing and routing needs.

Because ease of use and easy people adoption were additional key factors, the hospital didn’t want a solution that involved external devices with separate scanners, keyboards and storage. These types of solutions delivered silos of automation and had proven to be more complex to implement as well as had a greater potential for technical problems due to multiple hardware systems and accessories. With their existing workflow processes in mind, which were being managed individually (not centralized), NSi developed a customized solution for Children’s Hospital Boston using AutoStore software along with HP and Ricoh MFD devices.

Keeping a Pulse on Results
Today Children’s Hospital can share information more easily. Documents are easy to locate and both physicians and staff feel they have become more productive. In terms of tangible return on investment (ROI), the document storage costs run from $200/month to more than $10,000/month depending on the volume and on an annual basis, each department can spend up to $125,000 on physical storage only. What this translates to is that by using AutoStore, Children’s Hospital will save more than $2 million per annum on document storage costs. Additionally, as more departments join the paper to electronic conversion process, the ROI will increase by 10 percent annually.