Success Story

Looking Forward to Communication Director 4: The Valley Hospital Grows with Forward Advantage




The Valley Hospital is a 451-bed, not-for-profit, acute care facility located in Ridgewood, New Jersey. A recipient of numerous clinical excellence and service awards, such as “Most Wired” for the past 10 years, the hospital has delivered quality care to more than 440,000 people in and around Bergen County for over 60 years. As the hospital has grown, so have the IT systems that help the hospital provide patient care and support services.

The Valley Hospital is also a long-time Forward Advantage customer and was an early adopter of Communication Director for automated report distribution. A positive experience with the solution has the hospital looking forward to the Communication Director 4 browser-based upgrade. “We’ve been really happy with our existing system, so we are expecting good things with the new version,” says Michael Laidlaw, an Information Systems Coordinator at Valley.

Report Delivery for a Variety of Needs

Valley has Communication Director configured for both inbound and outbound faxing, and it is used by different departments in varying ways. The hospital also uses DesktopFax, which relies on Windows® printing, and automated SmartRoute technology. With DesktopFax, users select the print command on their computer and choose a recipient from a preconfigured list. Reports are then sent to a network printer and can be delivered via fax, e-mail, printer, smartphone, or file transfer. Alternatively, SmartRoute technology automates the process by using rules to determine a report’s recipient and delivery preference.

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SmartRoutes and the System Activity Monitor

There are 10 different SmartRoutes in place at the hospital, each configured to do different things. “If a doctor orders a test from our lab, the SmartRoute tells Communication Director how and when the results should be received,” says Laidlaw. “If we want to schedule certain reports to come in only during off-hours, the system allows that kind of flexibility.” Since implementing Communication Director, the hospital‘s database has grown to more than 20,000 fax numbers. Managing such a large number may seem like a daunting task; however, Laidlaw points out that it is all done behind the scenes. “The system is integrated with MEDITECH’s Provider Dictionary. We have an automated process that adds or removes physicians based on the information in the Dictionary.”

The System Activity Monitor tracks whether or not a report was successfully delivered or received, which provides an additional level of accountability. It gives a timeline of the delivery attempts and stores the reports so that they can be accessed or resent at a later time. “This feature provides help when troubleshooting a missing report,” continues Laidlaw.

“If a physician does not receive a scheduled report, we can go into the system and confirm if it was sent or find out why it was not received. It is important for us to respond to physicians in a timely manner, and this feature allows us to find answers quickly and efficiently.”

- Michael Laidlaw, Information Systems Coordinator at Valley

Customizable for Long-Term Success

Valley has tailored Communication Director to accommodate a variety of requests, typically without assistance from Forward Advantage. For instance, Laidlaw and his team developed a way to send mass communications to their entire physician community using NPR reports and a single SmartRoute. “This has automated a number of monthly communications, which allows for greater productivity from the team,” concludes Laidlaw. “If someone asks for a report to be submitted in a particular way, we have found that the system’s flexibility allows us to customize requests based on the requirements or needs of our physicians and users.”

“The Valley Hospital has done a great job making the system work for their unique needs, and I think they’ll be even happier with the flexibility provided by the new browser-based version,” says Kevin Frazier, Manager of Client Services for Forward Advantage. “We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future as we support Communication Director and their single sign-on solution.”

About The Valley Hospital

The Valley Hospital, a 451-bed, acute care, not-for-profit hospital located in Ridgewood, NJ, is part of Valley Health System, which also includes Valley Home Care and Valley Medical Group. Valley is an affiliate of NewYork- Presbyterian Healthcare System and the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. These include 10 consecutive recognitions for service excellence by J.D. Power and Associates for inpatient care and four awards for patient safety and quality care from the Leapfrog Group, which has ranked Valley among the top hospitals in the nation. Valley has been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 100 Best hospitals for cardiac surgery and orthopedic surgery. Valley has also been honored three times with “Magnet” designation – the nursing profession’s highest honor. Key services include cardiology, oncology, women’s and children’s services, emergency care, orthopedics, and neurosciences. For more information, please visit