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Streamlined report delivery saves time and improves care at Benefis Health System

Jul 29, 2022

Benefis Health System (Benefis) has been a valued customer of Forward Advantage for more than a decade. Benefis uses Communication Director for clinical report delivery and Imprivata Cortext for HIPAA-compliant text messaging. Benefis providers and staff appreciate these solutions for their ability to streamline clinical workflow, improve productivity, and enhance patient care with faster access to clinical data. When the opportunity presented itself to upgrade Communication Director to the latest version 4 platform, while also extending automated report delivery to include readable PDFs, the team at Benefis didn’t hesitate. Communication Director was already broadly deployed throughout the hospital with DesktopFax used for on-demand faxing and SmartRoute for automated report delivery.

“DesktopFax is used quite a bit by our Lab,” says Julie Ramsey, clinical analyst II at Benefis. “It’s much easier for them to print a report on the fly to the DesktopFax printer and utilize the provider dictionary to choose where it should go. The beauty of the SmartRoute is that once a report is signed in MEDITECH, it just automatically goes. Nobody has to touch it, and it’s very dependable.”

All departments, all users, all EHRs

Communication Director was designed for enterprise-wide information exchange – all departments, all users, and all EHRs. It is robust enough to be a hospital’s only “faxing” solution, and it can do as little or as much as end users need. The solution’s flexibility, combined with a trusted partnership with Forward Advantage, led Benefis to recently upgrade to version 4.1. “Forward Advantage has always been one of my favorite vendors, and their support is top-notch with issues resolved either in real time or same day,” says Ramsey. “We’re really happy with the new version. It allows us to preview reports more easily, so we have more visibility into what we’re sending out. It’s also web-based, which makes it much easier to push out to end users.”

DesktopFax & SmartRoute

On-demand faxing with DesktopFax eliminates the need to print and manually fax reports, and it’s used by several departments at Benefis. Coupled with a built-in provider dictionary and seamless integration with MEDITECH, DesktopFax is a good fit for all departments and users. SmartRoute functionality is also widely deployed at Benefis and has been credited with time savings and timelier patient care, as critical reports are automatically routed to the correct recipient. Benefis currently has five SmartRoutes configured for: Imaging and Therapeutic Services (ITS), Materials Management, Lab, Pathology, and Cardiology. “Anytime a patient report is signed (night or day), it’s going to be delivered with SmartRoute. It’s a huge benefit that there’s no delay, and that has a positive effect on patient care.”

File Pick-Up for readable PDFs

Cardiology is the most recent department at Benefis to implement a SmartRoute through an add-on module called File Pick-Up. Prior to implementing File Pick-Up, ECG technicians in Benefis’s Cardiology department had to manually print and fax reports from its ECG vendor. Manual faxing not only wasted staff time and delayed report delivery, but it negatively impacted the quality of the ECG tracing on these reports. With File Pick-Up in place, these reports are placed in a shared folder via COLD feed. File Pick-Up monitors this folder for readable PDF files, runs them through Communication Director for the appropriate SmartRoute configurations, and automatically delivers them to the appropriate recipients. “I estimate that our ECG technicians save 5-10 minutes per report. In fact, someone from our Cardiovascular department personally thanked me, because it’s such a huge time saver. The quality of the reports is much better too. The receiving entities have noticed a difference.”

The takeaway

Communication Director’s System Activity Monitor (SAM) provides a central location to easily view a report’s delivery status and, if necessary, re-send or redirect it to another fax number. SAM provides built-in auditing and a level of accountability that Ramsey and the rest of her team rely on. “It’s beneficial to us all the time,” says Ramsey. “Someone on the other end might pick up a fax and walk away without telling anyone else. They’ll call and say that a fax was never sent, but we can go into SAM and tell them the exact day and time that a fax was sent to their system. It’s a very helpful tool and used consistently.”

“Benefis has done a great job looking for ways we can partner and deliver solutions that have a positive impact on patient care,” says Lee Howard, vice president of client services for Forward Advantage. “The automation provided by File Pick-Up and SmartRoute with Cardiology is yet another way the Benefis organization can utilize Communication Director to save time and take care of their patients.”

Interested in learning more about Communication Director 4 (CDS 4)?

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