As Capital Expenditures Slow, Hospitals and Treatment Centers Seek Competitive Advantage by Leveraging TechnologyAfghanistan — Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Atlanta, GA, April 02, 2009
For oncology programs struggling to make ends meet, the ability to do more with less is appealing. The pressure to gain efficiencies comes from two converging market forces: the recessionary economy that is straining the traditionally recession-proof healthcare industry, and the national push to implement electronic medical records (EMRs).
The subject of EMRs is gaining new prominence with the inclusion of $19 billion in Congress’seconomic stimulus package
as well as the impending 2014 deadline for having an electronic health record for every American, which was set by the federal government five years ago.
“Oncology departments using Impac Software often don’t fully appreciate how its features can streamline processes and reduce workload because they are comprised of so many different physician specialists and systems,” says Terry Oakes, vice president,STRATEGIQ
Services for Elekta.
As a result, Elekta formed STRATEGIQ Services, a professional services group, to assist clients in obtaining additional value from their oncology programs. By evaluating and restructuring administrative and clinical processes while maximizing the usage of functionality available in Impac’s comprehensive EMR software, MOSAIQ, oncology departments are finding benefits that not only create savings but also increase staff and patient satisfaction.
“We found that many oncology departments were only using the software for its basic ability to schedule, verify patient treatments, and print out paper charts,” Oakes says. “I like to say that STRATEGIQ Services ‘brings the software to life’ by helping our clients realize efficiencies for their unique challenges. We work with our clients to revise their current processes and use of the software. We help them identify and develop new processes, eliminate their dependence on paper and gain the efficiencies of an electronic medical record system while improving the quality of their patient care.”
STRATEGIQ Services recently completed an engagement at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, MO to help the comprehensive oncology department minimize the use of paper through more efficient use of their Impac Software. Marcy Maxwell, Director of Oncology Services, says that “STRATEGIQ Services really forced us to think step by step through our processes. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to clearly define roles and get everyone on the same page.”
“From this process we were able to lay the groundwork for a more standardized, efficient system, which we desperately needed,” she continues. “The deliverables provided a logical framework and timeline for implementation. It allowed every member of the healthcare team with information regarding what to expect and when for each step of the implementation process.”
Although many benefits are possible, Maxwell said they will immediately benefit from the efficiencies identified in day-to-day activities, standardization of documentation in medical and radiation oncology and instant availability of patient information.
For Impac oncology software users, the ability to take advantage of the software’s inherent EMR capabilities offers numerous benefits. “STRATEGIQ is helping radiation and medical oncology departments determine how they can immediately profit by more fully utilizing the software’s capabilities,” says Oakes. “An additional benefit of a STRATEGIQ engagement is that by streamlining processes, a cancer center can gain a competitive advantage in their marketplace.”