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AutoData Systems > patient surveys

Form Scanning Software Will Help Hospital Scribes (and generate more revenue)

The efficient use of a simple solution to a big problem helped make Allina Health an extra $205,000 last year.

As technology advances in health care seek to drive down costs and improve overall efficiency, many doctors have felt frustration in the learning of new technological processes and systems. One such technological change causing issues is the process of converting to electronic-medical-record systems. Katharine Grayson of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal recently wrote an article about how Allina dealt with doctors frustrated with the amount of time spent in front of computers as opposed to patients.

The article (found here) follows Allina Health cardiologist Dr. Alan Bank and his simple solution to the problem of spending too much time in front of a computer. “I didn’t feel like I could focus on the patient. I felt like I was duplicating things. It just seemed like a lot of excessive data entry,” Dr. Bank told Grayson. Dr. Bank’s answer was simple: scribes. After Dr. Bank saw emergency room doctors using scribes, he thought he should do the same for cardiologists. The scribes – trained medical personnel who specialize in charting physician-patient encounters during medical exams – joined the doctors during patient visits to take notes and enter data.

Dr. Bank studied the results and noted that over the course of 65 clinic hours, doctors with scribes saw 210 patients while doctors without scribes saw 129. The difference in additional number of patients visited translated into a significant difference in additional revenue for Allina – roughly $205,000. One very important detail of the study is that the patients with scribes were at least as satisfied with their experience as those who didn’t have scribes. Although Dr. Bank’s solution was extremely simple, it proved extremely successful. He now sees 30% more patients then he used to yet feels less overwhelmed.

However, we can’t help but think about the scribes, who are most likely in charge of manually entering all of that data now. If only there was a way in which they could collect patient data and scan it into a computer that automatically enters it into a database. That would improve efficiency and allow scribes to see more patients with their doctors, which in turn, creates more revenue for (enter your hospital name here). Now, imagine if  you could find software that could do that . . . (hint: www.autodata.com).

Patients or consumers?

“The health care landscape is changing.”

That phrase – or some variation of that phrase – has been used ad-nauseam in recent years (we’re guilty of using it). The phrase has become cliché, as most people are aware that massive change in healthcare is underway through government reform referred to as ObamaCare. Although a large portion of the general population understands that change is happening, I don’t think they are sure – present company included – what the change means or where it is headed. Further complicating things is the change happening unrelated to ObamaCare, due to advances in technology and changes in consumer sentiment. You read that correctly, consumer, not patient.

In basically every industry outside of health care, when change is needed, the consumers drive the change whether individual businesses are ready or not. The customer knows best, after all. With the advent of Yelp!, Google reviews, Angie’s List, and countless social media sites, consumers have been given a much larger voice – and businesses have been listening. But until recently, health care hasn’t listened. In 2014 and beyond, the hospitals and health systems that don’t start listening to their consumers will be left behind – quickly.

“Despite controlling nearly 20% of the economy, traditional healthcare is years if not decades behind other industries when it comes to adopting a business model and technologies that assess and meet consumer needs.”

The quote comes from a recent HealthLeadersMedia interview (found here) with Chris Wasden, a global healthcare innovation leader and SVP at PwC. The interview discusses recent empowerment of health care consumers who are now willing (and eager) to “dump the doctor’s office for cheaper and more convenient retail and remote alternatives that could amount to tens of billions of dollars of lost revenues if they fail to adapt.”

In short, if health systems want to survive they need to adapt. Step 1: Treat patients as consumers:

“Whether it’s the pharmaceutical companies, device makers, payers, or providers, nobody considers the patient as their customer so they’ve never tried to come up with solutions that were consumer-friendly or consumer-centric.”

Treating them as consumers forces a hospital to frame the experience they provide differently. If they frame it correctly, they will improve the consumer’s experience for the better. Framing it correctly depends on Step 2.

Step 2: listen to the consumers. Ask them. Survey them. Gather the data and use it to make consumer-friendly choices that enhance the experience and the care. Framing patients as consumers means asking different questions than ones found in typical patient satisfaction surveys or HCAPHS surveys. Ask about every conceivable positive or negative experience and then implement the proper changes. This will improve the experience and when you improve the experience and the care, the consumer will follow. The health systems that do this will flourish, the health systems that don’t will flounder. It is painfully simple.

Customer Profile: The Baltimore Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) operates the largest integrated health care system in the nation, with more than 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community living centers, and other facilities. Included in the varied types of care the VA provides are many specialized clinical and research centers. Baltimore’s Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence is one such place and has used AutoData’s Scannable Office since 2008.

The Associate Director of Epidemiology and Outcomes for the MS Center, Dr. William Culpepper, explained how the Center has had success using Scannable Office in collecting pertinent data from veterans from all over the country. Over the past five years, the Center used Scannable Office with help conducting two nation-wide surveys. Dr. Culpepper and the Center sought to collect specific, detailed clinical data on veterans with MS. They found that one of the best ways to do so was through representative surveys and asking the patients themselves. Dr. Culpepper wanted something simple to use and something that could be managed by his assistants yet still retain its high functionality; they ultimately settled on Scannable Office. Before mailing the surveys out, the Center was able to pre-print the surveys with ID numbers linking the form back to the respondent, a feature Dr. Culpepper appreciated. The Center then mailed out the paper surveys to thousands of veterans.

The Center collected data from over 3,000 veterans nationwide and Dr. Culpepper was able to use that data to draft multiple manuscripts describing the epidemiology of MS. One of the important findings Dr. Culpepper was able to show was that the veteran population with MS is not that different than the non-veteran population with MS. Evidence was also gathered to show that within the VA system, MS patients’ care costs twice as much as other patients’ care. Dr. Culpepper and the MS Center of Excellence are doing extremely important work by conducting cutting edge research and clinical work on our nation’s heroes diagnosed with MS. AutoData is proud to learn that Scannable Office has played a small part in aiding the Center to further its research. Most importantly, the Center continues to plan more survey based research in the future in an effort to learn more about veterans with MS.

Health System Finds Success With ‘Ad hoc’ Surveys

In a reoccurring segment on our blog,  we’d like to highlight another customer’s success with our software. The customer we’d like to highlight is a unified health system of physicians, hospitals, and communities located in and serving a large metro area in the Midwest. This health system has state of the art neo-natal, obstetrics, and perinatal care centers which offer a variety of different services for pregnant women, newborns, and families. Year after year, this health system consistently delivers the most babies in their respective state.

They have used AutoData’s survey scanning software for nine years and counting.

“We use the software for all of our ‘ad hoc’ surveys,” says a planning manager for the health system’s Corporate Planning and Business Development group. Whether it’s a one-time survey or a monthly survey, they use Scannable Office to gather and measure important information for many different projects within the health system.

“As an example,” he says, “our Primary Stroke Center is a ‘Joint Commission Certified Center for Excellence’ in treating stroke patients, which requires abiding by a certain set of standards.” One standard set forth by the Joint Commission is to provide patient feedback. “We use Scannable Office to create the survey and mail them to discharged stroke patients.” They receive the evaluations back from the patients, scan the surveys using Scannable Office, tabulate and create reports on the data, and then send that information to the Primary Stroke Center. The information is then analyzed and studied by the stroke center which assists in providing education to patients and focuses on secondary prevention.

On top of being a Certified Center for Excellence, and as mentioned above, the health system is a leader in neo-natal, obstetrics, and perinatal care. A key part of the system’s high quality care in those specialized areas is the wide array of maternity classes they offer. “We also use Scannable Office to evaluate all of our maternity care classes,” says the planning manager, “the data we collect is turned into trend charts for analysis and to communicate how to improve our classes.” Consistently striving to improve their programs and classes contributes to the great success their hospitals have experienced.

They also use our paper scanning software within their residency programs. Providing patient feedback on the residents is an integral part of how the health system teaches, and subsequently produces, great doctors. The data collected from the patients is used to give each resident a scorecard reflecting their work, giving the future doctors the opportunity to examine their strengths and weaknesses.

Further, the health system uses Scannable Office for at least a half dozen other surveys. The planning manager has found that Scannable Office serves a great niche function in his hospitals. “While we outsource all of our health system’s patient satisfaction surveys due to sheer volume, we have found Scannable Office gives us the flexibility and autonomy needed for successfully administering the dozens of ‘ad hoc’ surveys across our hospitals.”

AutoData’s software’s ability to allow its user to have full control over the creation, distribution, and reporting of surveys has helped numerous customers improve organizational processes, cut costs, and most importantly, provide higher quality care.

Ten No-cost Ways to Improve Patient Satisfaction

Our goal in writing this blog is to provide you, the reader, with valuable insight (at least we hope its valuable). Most of the time, we offer our own perspectives on relevant issues. But sometimes, others offer great advice that we would be remiss not to share with you. This is one of those times.

The blog over at www.physicianspracitce.com has an insightful recent post outlining “Ten no-cost ways to improve patient satisfaction.” The post reiterates the importance of measuring patient satisfaction, but goes on to give 10 simple –yet effective – tips on how physicians can improve patient satisfaction. Check out the full post at the below link!

 

http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/ten-no-cost-ways-to-improve-patient-satisfaction

Using surveys at assisted living facilities to increase quality of care

There are currently 735,000 men and women residing in assisted living housing in America.[1] Over the next 20 years, as baby boomers continue to age and leave the workforce in droves, the number of assisted living residents will spike. Recent questions surrounding patient safety and the quality of care administered at these facilities have been raised in the media, most recently highlighted by an investigative series done by PBS’s Frontline.

A large concern surrounding the problem of patient safety at these facilities is “[t]oo often, families don’t have the information they need to protect their loved ones residing in assisted living facilities,”[2] says National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers’ President, Julie Gray.  One of the best ways for facilities to get that information into the hands of those families is through measuring their own quality of care and resident satisfaction. The best way to measure care and patient satisfaction is by surveying residents, employees, and families.

Pioneer Network – a non-profit organization which advocates for positive change in eldercare – released a helpful guide outlining what families should look for when searching for the right assisted living facility.[3] The guide is not only extremely helpful to families looking for the right facility, but it is also helpful for the facilities themselves. It serves as a reminder of the importance of constantly evaluating the care an assisted living facility provides. The guide suggests families ask specific questions about “person-directed care and what the assisted living community is doing, if anything, with person-directed care.” The guide lists specific questions to ask: how do you welcome a new resident?; do you measure resident satisfaction each year?; do you provide training for your staff on how to provide person-directed care?; etc. As obvious as it may seem, care facilities should be asking themselves the same questions about the care they provide. Further, the guide suggests that facilities survey family members of the individual residing at the facility.

Assisted living facilities will increase their quality of care and patient satisfaction by asking their residents, employees, families, and themselves, the right questions. The best way to ask and answer the important and specific questions put forth above is through custom tailored surveys. Facilities are in the best position to know which questions to ask. When facilities have the ability to custom tailor their own surveys to ask those specific questions and to freely edit those surveys, they put themselves in a position to gather more accurate and valuable data.

Feel free to contact AutoData to find out how we can help assisted living facilities create custom tailored paper and web surveys to  improve your care, and most importantly, improve the overall quality of life for your residents.



[1] “New Survey from National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers Offers a Roadmap to Protect Growing Number of Seniors http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11083496.htm

[2] See id.

The New Importance of Measuring Patient Care

Another day, another article on the importance of measuring patient care in a post-Affordable Care Act world (It pays for hospitals to keep patients happy, Seattle Times, see link below).

As discussed in our last post, federal reimbursements are being tied not only to surveys that measure a patient’s care, but also their experience. In an attempt to improve the patient’s experience, everything from a patient’s overall care to hospital noise and cleanliness are measured. The better the patient’s experience, the more money is received in reimbursements, or so the logic goes.

But measuring specific aspects of patient care is easier said than done. For example, perhaps your hospital implements – or contracts someone to implement – your HCAHPS surveys. Or perhaps the same goes for your AHRQ Medical Office Survey. Or perhaps the same goes for any other myriad of standardized surveys your hospital might use. While administering all of those different surveys is important, there are two inherent problems: 1) too many moving parts when trying to implement multiple different surveys all collecting different kinds of data 2) the standardized surveys don’t necessarily cover all of the topics you wish to measure (i.e. hospital noise and cleanliness).

The severity of the first problem depends on the hospital’s processes. If you’re reading this, you’re likely well aware of the issues that arise in administering multiple standardized surveys. For example, dealing with third party contractors who write, administer, and report on different surveys creates red tape and removes the care provider further away from the process of measuring care. Also, the data collected from all these different surveys is unorganized, hard to manage, and doesn’t flow.

Second, the standardized surveys don’t allow you the flexibility to ask the questions you want to ask. As the Seattle Times article suggests, hospitals need the ability to measure all sorts of different patient attitudes and experiences; how the hospital communicates to the patient, how the hospital serves the patient, how they address the patient’s pain, and so on.

Because of these two problems, standardized surveys and the third party vendors who administer them can’t touch on the important level of detail needed to ask the right questions. The measurement of care should be administered by those closest to the patients, the ones providing the care.

So what am I getting at?

The ability to custom tailor surveys so that every detail about a patient’s experience is measured. The flexibility and autonomy necessary to create surveys that ask the questions your organization wants to ask. The ability to have all of your data in one spot. This is what AutoData does for its customers. AutoData’s software gives you the in-house tools to be in full control of your surveys and your data, giving you the ability to better measure your care and improve your care.

Please contact us for more information on how we can help.

 

(Seattle Times article below)

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2021593747_healthpatientsxml.html

ExpertScan vs. Scannable Office: Part 2 – Reporting the data

 

In a prior post, we briefly explained the differences in creating forms with our two main survey scanning solutions – Scannable Office and ExpertScan. In this post, we will explain the other main difference between the two products: reporting the data.

An important reason customers choose to use our software is to clearly understand the data they collect. Whether it’s measuring patient care or customer experience, the data doesn’t mean much if you don’t understand it or if you can’t convey it clearly to others. In general, it’s much easier to convey raw data through visuals (bar graphs, pie charts, line graphs, etc.). This is where ExpertScan comes in handy.

ExpertScan has automatic reporting built into the software. When you scan in your form or survey, the software creates a handful of different reports on the data automatically. With the click of a mouse, a window pops up with a question-by-question breakdown and option to view the data in bar graphs, pie charts, trend analysis, etc.. ExpertScan also has tabulation rules that allow you to parse out certain types of data. For example, if you have a patient satisfaction survey which is used in multiple hospitals, ExpertScan’s reporting allows you to see the differences, question-by-question, between those different hospitals or even the different doctors. These reports can be easily converted to PDF files and disseminated to appropriate personnel. Further, all of the raw data scanned into your computer also gets saved in a separate Microsoft Access database.

While Scannable Office offers more options in form creation, it does not offer the automatic reporting features that ExpertScan has. With Scannable Office, the data can be uploaded directly to any ODBC compliant database – Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, MySQL, Oracle, Filemaker Pro, etc. Once in the database, one’s options to manipulate and report on the data are endless. However, the options are limited to the user’s experience working with any of the aforementioned databases.

Customers who come from smaller organizations or have less experience working in ODBC compliant databases love the automatic reporting ExpertScan provides. Customers who work in large institutions sometimes prefer Scannable Office because they have the personnel and resources to do much more analysis with the data in ODBC compliant databases.

So there you have it: A brief description on the differences in reporting your data (and previously – from creation). As stated, these are the two most distinct differences between ExpertScan and Scannable Office. But we’d love to chat with you about further nuances between the two! Feel free to contact us directly at any time!