The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society improves process health

IBM Enterprise Content Management software helps increase efficiency by 50 percent

Published on 12-Nov-2013

"Admissions processes that once took an hour now take 30 minutes." - Joe Collette, ECM product manager, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society

Customer:
The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society

Industry:
Healthcare

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
ECM - Advanced Case Management (ACM), ECM - Enterprise Content Management, Enterprise Content Management, Smarter Care

Overview

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society is a not-for-profit, faith-based senior-care and social services organization. It operates out of 240 locations, serving approximately 27,000 people throughout 24 states. With help from volunteers, the society’s more than 20,000 employees provide a wide range of long-term care services, including assisted living, hospice care and home health.

Business need:
Cumbersome paperwork and processes impeded The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society staff members’ ability to enhance the experience of residents and their families.

Solution:
The organization implemented IBM Enterprise Content Management software components to digitize and manage documents in a central repository and link automated images to automated workflow.

Benefits:
The solution helps improve overall operating efficiency, dramatically increasing data visibility and reducing clinical document access and review times by at least 50 percent.

Case Study

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society is a not-for-profit, faith-based senior-care and social services organization. It operates out of 240 locations, serving approximately 27,000 people throughout 24 states. With help from volunteers, the society’s more than 20,000 employees provide a wide range of long-term care services, including assisted living, hospice care and home health.

Diagnosing process ailments

The Good Samaritan Society focuses on improving the quality of life for residents and employees. When cumbersome paperwork and admissions processes began seriously impeding staff members’ ability to enhance the experience of residents and their families, the organization sought a solution for making processes flow more smoothly.

As part of that goal, The Good Samaritan Society wanted to digitize patients’ medical and financial records, moving from a primarily paper-based operation to an electronic one. It also sought to standardize and centralize administrative processes across all locations. “Most of our current processes are manual and are not followed at all of our centers in the same way. The challenge is to automate those processes and bring practices into line across all locations,” says Joe Collette, ECM product manager at The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. Already running IBM products for its operational environment, the organization decided that a solution based on key IBM Enterprise Content Management software components would easily integrate with and be enhanced by its existing infrastructure.

Streamlining admissions practices nationwide

To help its rehab-skilled locations operate more cohesively, The Good Samaritan Society deployed IBM® FileNet® Content Manager software for storing and managing digitized documents in a central repository. In addition, the society implemented IBM Case Foundation software to streamline and standardize the new patient on-boarding processes and forms. The solution supports a common set of admission practices set by the society’s National Campus in Sioux Falls while providing enough flexibility to accommodate specific needs at each center.

Previously, when admissions documents were completed manually, copies were made for the center, the National Campus and the family. Now, only one hard copy is required for the resident’s family, saving thousands annually on paper costs per center.

The solution captures administrative documents as electronic forms or templates that are linked to back-office systems and workflows. During the admissions process prepopulated fields on the templates are updated automatically to reflect the most current organizational and patient information. Social workers no longer have to fill out and fax paper forms, virtually eliminating delays and errors because of outdated or illegible content. They can quickly and accurately complete all required admissions documents online, freeing up time to answer any questions from family members about required paperwork or life at the center itself.

The system distributes the electronic forms to the National Campus and automatically tags any items requiring back-office review. “In the past, we had a lot of faxed agreements and paperwork that administrative staff had to read through to find certain values and make sure that we completed additional paperwork based on those values. Now the system flags those items automatically so they get processed consistently and accurately; none get missed,” says Paul Bennett, WebSphere systems architect for The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.

Improving responsiveness with rapid information access and transparency

The Good Samaritan Society now has a single FileNet Content Manager software repository for residents’ medical and financial records. With the system available to staff members around the clock, they can provide more efficient, responsive care. “A paper chart could only exist in one place at one time. It could be at the nurses’ station; it could be with the dietician or with the activities’ director; it could even be locked in the administrator’s office. The IBM electronic document repository makes all those documents available to whoever needs them, at the time needed,” says Collette.

In addition, the solution creates an audit trail every time someone touches a medical or financial record, something that was not possible before. This automatic system tracking and documentation makes it much easier and less time-consuming to meet HIPAA and other regulatory requirements. It also facilitates process improvement. “Before, we had no way of knowing for sure when a process stopped and started. With electronic workflow, we see what the roadblocks are to our process, what works well and what makes our residents’ lives easier,” says Brad Vansurksum, business process engineer for The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.

Streamlining employee scheduling

While The Good Samaritan Society was digitizing the admissions process, it was also applying the IBM solution to simplifying employee requests for paid time off (PTO). Previously, employees would fill out paper PTO request forms and submit them to supervisors who would check the employees’ accrued time before approving and submitting the requests through the payroll management system. Now, employees monitor their own accrued time and submit PTO requests online. The system automatically creates an assignment for the responsible supervisors to either approve or deny the requests; approved requests then flow into the payroll management system for processing.

Freed from paperwork, supervisors can concentrate on the critical task of ensuring sufficient staff coverage to handle residents’ needs. “Plus, it used to take one person working full time to process all the paperwork in payroll, time that is now better spent on other tasks,” says Bennett.

Envisioning a wellness model for healthcare

Going forward, the organization plans to use IBM Patient Care and Insights solutions to help patients enrolled in The Good Samaritan Society’s LivingWell@Home program. The vision encompasses capturing information from multiple sources, including medical device and sensor data streams, to facilitate proactive individual wellness through exception reporting and automated alerts. The logical next step will be automating the process of gleaning predictive insights from the incoming data.

Solution components

For more information

To learn more about IBM Enterprise Content Management solutions, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/ecm .

To learn more about IBM Patient Care and Insights solutions, please visit the following website: ibm.com/software/ecm/patient-care .

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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
FileNet Content Manager, Case Foundation

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America October 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, and FileNet are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation.