Facing rapid growth in an uncertain healthcare environment, AeroFlow Healthcare needed to get control of the company’s processes and paperwork. There were multiple, disparate systems being used to manage operations and many mission-critical processes were being handled solely through email, exposing opportunities for error. Once AeroFlow implemented Medforce document management and business process management tools, the company had the consolidated, real-time insight needed to make smart decisions and effectively oversee growth.Products Used:
AeroFlow Healthcare is a leading provider of durable medical equipment and services, having sustained annual growth rates between 35-50% for several years in a row. As with any healthcare organization, constant regulation changes and complex requirements combined with reduced reimbursement required analyzing the business to create a leaner and more profitable organization that can sustain the lower margins. Being able to sustain its impressive growth rate and maintain a stable organization, the company needed to overhaul how it did business to contain costs while continuing to provide exemplary customer service.
The first glaring area needing improvement was managing the paper. Whether it was a new order, a bill, Explanation of Benefits (EOB), insurance contracts, payer audits, or a patient complaint, stacks of paperwork were generated on a daily basis. The challenge was to keep everything standardized, ensuring all employees were performing consistently and processes were compliant with internal procedures and the rules and regulations mandated by CMS, Medicaid insurance companies or the Accreditation Commission for Health Care. These documents needed to be stored for compliance and were often retrieved during order processing or billing functions.
Further, the number of processes required to run the business increased and got more complex as AeroFlow grew. Processes were handled in a variety of ways, many informal, that led to an inability to track progress or make informed decisions to positively affect outcomes. Order processing was controlled through a combination of a Microsoft Access database and billing software. Many processes were handled with one-to-one email that had no oversight. For example, if a biller identified a claim that needed to be written off, a request was made to the accounts receivable manager via email. If a patient called to speak with a clinician, an email was sent asking the clinician to contact the patient. If an order came in for a product that was not being stocked, an email was sent to the purchasing department to order the product. While there were many processes in place, there was no good central place to control them all.
With a hundred employees and rapid expansion, it became increasingly important to ensure that all processes were designed as lean as possible. Eliminating operational waste and enforcing consistency were critical to gaining control and effectively navigating growth.
The more I work with CommandCenter, the more I love it; the possibilities are endless with this program. Thanks to Medforce, AeroFlow is several steps ahead of the competition. That’s a comfortable place to be.
— Casey Hite, VP AeroFlow Healthcare
To get a handle on the paper trail, and make sure each person got the files they needed, AeroFlow turned to Medforce Technologies and its ContentCenter document management solution. What AeroFlow most appreciated about Medforce’s approach was not only an understanding of the market, but the ability to offer customization and tailor the products to the company's needs. “We reviewed every product on the market. None of them understood our industry as well as Medforce. Every other vendor required AeroFlow to change our own internal processes in order to meet their software requirements, rather than the other way around. Not Medforce,” Vice President Casey Hite said.
Even with the volume of paperwork AeroFlow has, the company was able to quickly and easily eliminate all filing cabinets. Once documents could be retrieved electronically Hite found that he wanted to be able to move the documents through their processes electronically and to gain better control and improve standardization. AeroFlow turned to Medforce again and purchased CommandCenter business process management (BPM). Initially, the company started in a focused manner, using BPM first in the order process. Orders had been a particularly thorny issue. Prior to CommandCenter, orders took an average of two days to process. Medforce’s automatic monitoring of AeroFlow’s fax service coupled with the accountability generated by CommandCenter essentially eliminated the chance of losing orders and enabled controls to ensure that all orders were processed timely.
Once the order process was refined and fully operational, the benefits of having such a flexible BPM system in place were easily understood. Quickly, AeroFlow expanded the footprint of CommandCenter throughout the organization using it for purchasing procedures, to control and manage write-offs, to manage incoming mail, keep track of customer complaints and issues for accreditation and more. Processes were formalized, standardized and streamlined. They even added a CommandCenter process for Human Resources to email a happy birthday email to employees on their birthdays.
Medforce has been critical in helping enable consistency, provide visibility and enforce responsibility. For example, a manager must sign off on a write-off before accounts receivable staff to processes it. When write-offs were handled solely via email, there was no real accountability. You could not pull up proof that a write-off had appropriate authorization. Another important area was purchasing of products. Prior to implementing CommandCenter there were many occasions steps were skipped before adding a product to inventory. Hite provides this example: “We need assurance that the product will be paid and in some cases we need an ABN if there is a question of coverage. Now there is a clear list of steps that must be followed. The CommandCenter process records each step, date, time and the person that completed the task. It has eliminated any products being added to inventory without the proper approval and assurance that we will be paid for the product. Plus, the workflow task is linked directly to the patient so everything is in one spot and it is easy to monitor and control.”
At any given time management can see exactly what everyone is doing and leadership can get productivity reports showing the quantity of items and who did them. Everything is in one place including how many writes offs, payer swaps, new product requests, how many special requests, QC audits, and even time off requests. The productivity or backlog of each employee or department is visible with a couple of clicks, so management can respond and correct issues quickly.
Medforce CommandCenter substantially increased employee productivity. Employee training has dramatically improved as well. Even with the most complex processes, CommandCenter’s measured pacing and clear instructions empower and guide employees through each step of the process.
It now takes fewer labor hours to complete the same tasks. Management can ensure there are no bottlenecks by being able to monitor how much work is assigned to employees and re-allocate that assignment with a click if the employee is getting backlogged or calls in sick. Because of the centralized resource that everyone accesses, AeroFlow can provide a more consistent quality of service to patient/clients. Plus, all steps are audited enabling the company to ensure that all processes are completed consistently and no steps are missed.
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