Maintaining a Core Vendor Strategy with a MEDITECH MAGIC to 6.0 Migration
Randolph Hospital, in Asheboro, NC, is a 145-bed community hospital serving the population of Randolph County. The hospital has been a MEDITECH customer since 1988 using nearly the full HCIS. Within the past few years, hospital leadership developed a strategic plan to provide a higher quality of patient care and increase patient safety with additional clinical systems and embedded evidence-based information. After a market analysis, Randolph chose to take advantage of the benefits associated with MEDITECH’s latest platform by migrating from MAGIC to 6.0. The hospital completed its migration on October 1, 2010 and is working to implement MEDITECH’s Patient Care System, Bedside Medication Verification, Emergency Department Management, and Computerized Physician Order Entry applications in a phased approach.
With the migration behind them, the leadership and staff at Randolph have been extremely pleased with how well their Forward Advantage applications made the transition. As with MEDITECH, Randolph also has a long history of success with Forward Advantage. The hospital has used Forward Advantage’s Communication Director to automate reports distribution since 2002 and has subsequently acquired its Data Express and Bed Stat solutions. Maintaining a core vendor strategy has always been important to Randolph, and this strategy goes hand-in-hand with the decision to move forward with MEDITECH as its HCIS vendor and with Forward Advantage for its data exchange.
A History of Data Exchange with Forward Advantage
Randolph has been successfully integrating Forward Advantage’s Communication Director and Data Express solutions with MEDITECH for automated report delivery and clinical data exchange with physician EMRs.
For real-time bed status updates that integrate directly to MEDITECH’s Bed Board, the hospital implemented Forward Advantage’s Bed Stat solution. “MEDITECH has done its due diligence in developing software that allows clinicians to document and capture the patient information they need to facilitate care within an organization; however, what it’s lacking is the communication piece,” says Erica Hoglen, clinical systems analyst at Randolph.
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Communication Director is used for reports distribution by nearly every department at Randolph and has eliminated courier services for 90 percent of its physicians. SmartRoute technology automates faxing upon a report’s signature for six of Randolph’s departments using rules to intelligently determine recipient and delivery preference. While on MAGIC, departments that were not set up with a SmartRoute relied on MEDITECH’s Demand Fax application for on-demand faxing. Demand Fax is not available with
the 6.0 platform, so the hospital replaced this functionality with Communication Director’s DesktopFax.
Communication Director not only provides more efficient and reliable report delivery at Randolph, but it has helped improve the hospital’s physician relationships. “Communication Director‘s built-in auditing has been an enormous benefit for us, because we can look at the system to show that a report was successfully delivered,” says Hoglen. “It has really improved our accountability with our physician base.”
As with Communication Director, Data Express is also streamlining data exchange and improving physician relationships at Randolph. The solution provides outbound clinical results from MEDITECH to physician EMRs. Results are delivered in real time, which enhances provider efficiency. “Physician offices aren’t wasting resources and time hunting down paper documents and results that aren’t there,” says Hoglen. This immediate availability of patient results is also complementing the hospital’s initiative for a more fully functional electronic medical record. “It’s helping us work towards our goal for improved patient safety and outcomes by promoting more efficient, effective, and coordinated patient care,” continues Burgess.
With Forward Advantage’s Bed Stat, Randolph can report bed status updates directly to MEDITECH’s Bed Board via an automated telephony solution. The solution was implemented at the hospital to streamline staff workflow and improve bed turnaround time. “When we started evaluating the workflow of our Environmental Services department, we were finding that they were using sticky notes in nurses’ stations to communicate which rooms needed to be cleaned and were making at least four different calls to get status updates,” says Hoglen. “Bed Stat is cutting out a lot of these manual processes.”
Migrating Forward Advantage to MEDITECH 6.0
The migration from MEDITECH MAGIC to 6.0 had the staff at Randolph wondering how well Data Express and the Communication Director SmartRoutes would make the transition. As it turned out, Data Express required minimal effort on behalf of the hospital. Testing the interfaces and moving them to the live environment was all that was required for the migration. Communication Director was a bit more involved, because Randolph decided to transition from Rich Text reports to Microsoft Word when it migrated to 6.0. The hospital made this decision so that it would have more flexibility with formatting; however, it also knew that the report templates for its six SmartRoutes would have to be rebuilt.
The migration project began a month before Randolph was scheduled to go live with MEDITECH 6.0. Throughout this process, the hospital was pleased with the support received by Forward Advantage. “We had to rebuild all of our document types as Word documents and re-establish the tokens and fields that the system keys off of,” says Hoglen. “Forward Advantage knows MEDITECH well and had the experience to make suggestions to me on the areas I needed help with.” After Randolph turned the reports over to Forward Advantage for configuration, the new SmartRoutes were live within two weeks. The downtime per SmartRoute was no more than a half day, which was manageable for the hospital. “The entire project went very smoothly and was not very resource-intensive on our end, as Forward Advantage handled 90 percent of what was needed.”
Improvements with DesktopFax
The transition from MEDITECH’s MAGIC-based Demand Fax to Forward Advantage’s DesktopFax was well-received by staff and required minimal re-training. “The two systems are similar enough that our end users didn’t require much training,” says Hoglen. “They actually like DesktopFax much better. The ability to create our own address book for physicians who are not built into Communication Director has been a tremendous benefit. While on MAGIC and Demand Fax, we couldn’t fax to physicians who were
not in the provider dictionary. With DesktopFax, we can create a local address book for physicians we may only fax to once. It’s a huge benefit to not be limited to what’s in MEDITECH’s provider dictionary.”
Advice for Other Hospitals
When asked what advice she would offer other hospitals in a similar situation, Hoglen recommends maintaining a core vendor strategy for technology initiatives. “We’ve chosen to use Forward Advantage products time after time. Using a core vendor strategy for our main HCIS and third-party communication systems has been an enormous benefit for us. Everyone should consider a core vendor strategy for each of their needs before selecting multiple systems to try and do the same thing.” Hoglen also believes that strategic planning should be at the forefront of a MEDITECH 6.0 migration. “Although the integration between MEDITECH and Forward Advantage is extremely robust, planning is a must. With options to utilize either WORD or TEXT as document types, collaboration relative to configuration of these reports is crucial. Consideration of these items up front will result in a smooth transition.”
Forward Advantage was pleased with the results of Randolph’s MEDITECH 6.0 migration and looks forward to helping the hospital with its future initiatives for data exchange. “Our relationship with Randolph is an excellent example of how productive a vendor-client relationship can be,” says Kevin Frazier, manager of client services for Forward Advantage. “Our primary goal is to create a consistent customer experience by instilling trust with reliable products and services. Randolph has played an active part in the success of our relationship by remaining engaged and proactively anticipating changes to their environment. They are a valuable customer, and we look forward to working with them to expand their report and data capabilities in the future, including their upcoming MEDITECH 6.0 orders-in project with Data Express.”
About Randolph Hospital
Since 1932, Randolph Hospital has been fortunate to employ dedicated and loyal personnel committed to providing quality healthcare and promoting health and wellness in our community. Randolph Hospital touches nearly every family in Randolph County in some way, through Outpatient services, maternity care, inpatient hospitalization, education classes and screenings, emergency department visits, home health care and much more. More information can be found at www.randolphhospital.org.