Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, Advocate Health Centers is the largest fully integrated not-for-profit health care delivery system in metropolitan Chicago and is recognized as one of the top ten systems in the country. It’s an organization of more than 24,500 physicians and health care professionals dedicated to serving the health needs of individuals, families and communities.
Among its more than 200 sites of care, Advocate Health Centers has 20 centers.
They’re committed to listening and responding to their patients’ needs, including the need for a good family physician or specialist close to home, convenient office hours, easy appointment scheduling and quality programs and services.
On average, each center sees approximately 2,000 patients per day and medical charts are required for every patient. Returning patients’ charts are retrieved from the central records department at each center. Charts for new patients are created the first time they visit.
Because of the volume of patients each center sees daily, medical charts are pulled three days ahead for appointments. Add-ons, emergency care, and patients calling in to schedule an appointment that day, are added wherever a time slot exists.
After carefully reviewing all of the upgrade options available and testing the equipment, Cook chose Intermec Technologies Corporation. “I went with Intermec because they were the only company that was able to provide a complete solution at the right price,” said Cook. “They had printers, scanners, media, and outstanding technical support.”Another factor in the decision to use Intermec equipment was the support Cook received from Intermec Account Executive, Tony Rinaldi. “I called and said ‘I’ve got this Intermec printer I’m working with and I’ve got this other equipment and I just need some labels.’ And he sent them right out. He’s great. Tony backs me up and I can get a hold of technical support right when I need it. That’s a big reason I went with Intermec.”
The 3400 printers were installed in the medical records department of the two largest centers because of the patient volume and the number of people needing to print to it. 7421 printers were used at workstations because they’re compact, durable, and print labels quickly. Installation of all the equipment and associates’ training takes an average of one day per center.
For new patients, an Advocate Health Centers associate conducts a mini registration when they call and creates the chart. The IDX system prompts them to generate a medical record number, which generates the bar code number and prints the chart label.
“Our medical records staff and nurses love the new system. It’s fast, accurate, and easy to use,” said Cook. “Each doctor may see 30 to 40 patients a day. One person has to deal with all those charts and now they can have the charts ready in 5-10 minutes versus an hour like before.”
The efficiencies and timesaving Advocate Health Centers is experiencing since rolling out the new system in the two pilot centers has significantly helped their business run better. To date, Cook has four centers live and the goal is to have all their centers rolled out by the end of next year.
“We judge our success through patient satisfaction,” said Cook. “If the doctor knows where the chart is, it saves waiting time for patients. Everybody’s happy.”
Beverly Center, for example, archives up to 200 boxes per year, each box containing 40 to 50 charts. “Archiving charts will be a dream come true,” said Cook. “No more keying in 10 digits per chart, all we have to do now is scan them into the system.”
The ultimate testimony of how well the system works is that Cook has Advocate Health Centers’ managers begging her to install the system in their center. “It’s so important that the entire system works as good as the people working on it and Intermec was able to provide us with that system.”