Transitioning from Paper to Electronic Processes

First understand why you are doing it?  What is on your list?

Set goal Reach Goal small squareCommunicate your reasons for change and plans to your staff and clients.

Make a plan

Transitioning to an electronic record is a significant project.  Give it the attention it needs for greatest success.

Define your team.  Involve staff from all roles early in the process.  You may need to adjust job responsibilities to allow key staff time to implement your new electronic record.

Evaluate your internet service and devices.  If transitioning to a software service like FOCUS, you’ll need reliable internet service to access your record.  Tablets and laptops have batteries that last a long time, but if your modem and router lose power, they are useless.  Consider using battery backup for your internet hardware.  (Desktop computers require a larger battery backup than internet hardware.)  You can find more information on the internet and often find products at great prices on Amazon.  Your internet service provider might also have back up options.  Cellular services like Verizon have products for emergency use.

Set a Timeline and stick to it.  Do not transition too slowly or let other projects take priority or more issues will arise and you will not fully benefit from your investment.

Set a Go Live date from the start to have a goal and to keep the process moving. Open ended projects are easily delayed or even abandoned.

Define new workflows  – don’t be bound to the paper workflows.  Regularly evaluate and refine the new workflows.

High quality data: garbage in = garbage out!  Think about what data you will enter electronically and how you will enter it.  This part of implementation requires 1 or 2 staff who will be dedicated to learning the processes and making this successful. Many times an administrative person will prepare the electronic records with guidance from a director to assure overall goals are met.

Reduce your workload by uploading only what is needed to provide your services safely and efficiently. Historical data may need to stay in paper form.

Establish guidelines for uploading documents and entering data to ensure uniformity and clean appearance to your records.  Such detail as using Title Case instead of ALL CAPS or inconsistent upper and lower case will make a difference when using the application.

Adding Users.  When you go live with your staff and clients, define the process best for you.  By User, By Service, By Location, All at once.

Reduced productivity while learning.  Expect and prepare for a reduction in productivity by staff as they transition and learn the electronic application.  Services must continue and training might require overtime or creative covering of job duties.

Restrict Printing.  Once you have an electronic record, it should be accessed and shared electronically and not printed.

Training.  Consider the process of bringing staff on board.  Select Super Users to provide ongoing assistance and training.  Give supervisors and “champions” time to adjust to the new workflow and become familiar with the application before adding additional staff.  Allow time for staff to “play” in the application.

What to do with the paper records.  There are governmental guidelines requiring documents to be maintained for a number of years.  You can plan on scanning/uploading into your electronic record or for other electronic storage, or storing them as paper until they can be destroyed properly.

Staff Acceptance

In 2016, more people from all ages and stages of life use electronic devices – mostly smart phones, laptops and tablets, so the leap from paper to electronic applications is not as difficult as in the past. Involving staff from the beginning, explaining the benefits and setting expectations will help with acceptance and transition.  There will be staff with limited experience with computers and some who are afraid of using them who will need time to adjust.  There are online resources to help people learn about computers  – here are links to a few.

Jan’s Computer Basics

Microsoft Computer Basics

GCF Learn Free Computer Basics

Return on Investment

Financial benefits are many and are usually seen after the transition has occurred/the first year of use. Other benefits include staff satisfaction (reduced turnover), increase quality of services, more timely and accurate collaboration/sharing of information, and increased access to information.

  1. Greatly reduce or eliniate the need to print
  2. Reduce/Eliminate space required to store charts
  3. Acheive additional revenue through increase client flow and increased productivity
  4. More timely billing / more accurate billing
  5. Reduce possible fines or recoupements due to missing required documentation
  6. Reduce staff time required to manage charts and share information
  7. Increase quality of services through efficient and timely monitoring of quality indicators

Why Transition to Electronic Records and Processes?

orange question markThe first thing to think about when considering a transition from paper to electronic processes is Why?

Why you are doing it?

Here’s the start of a list – what would you add?

  1. Greater access to records – more easily searched
  2. Multiple people accessing the record at the same time
  3. Maintain only 1 copy of records for all locations and personnel – reduced dulplication of content
  4. Increase efficiency
  5. Grow your business – use staff to provide services instead of tending the chart
  6. Reduce or eliminate storage space
  7. Improve communication and ease of communication
  8. More easily share information and documents
  9. More quickly and easily receive documentation for more timely billing
  10. Improve documentation
  11. Reduce time auditing charts
  12. Quick and easy reports – easily aggregated data

Paper documentation is very limiting.  You have to be in the same location to view it.  Handwriting is often illegible.  Paper documentation is not formatted to query or analyze without transferring it to another format.  It is easily lost, destroyed, and damaged.

Most every industry is benefiting from electronic data and documentation, why not you?

Should we go to the cloud?

FOCUS is a Software as a Service Application – in the cloud.  Accessed via the internet and hosted/maintained/secured by  Integrity IT.

I interviewed Integrity IT’s partners about pros and cons of going to the cloud.  Here’s what they said when asked “Should we go to the cloud?”.

We get this question all the time and the answer is yes & no.  There are many cloud options that make sense.  Most of our customers have a mix of both cloud and on premise IT services which is what is referred to in the industry as a Hybrid Cloud approach. We take the same approach with all our customers – evaluate each specific situation to determine if it makes sense to consider a cloud solution and if it pasts the test of “would I do this if it were my business”.

Cloud solutions are generally the best fit in the following scenarios

Small or very large number of users.

Largely remote work force with need for real time collaboration

Geographic (multi-region) data redundancy

Geographic (multi-region) compute redundancy

SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) Application (depending on up-time/availability requirements) – FOCUS is a SaaS with up-time guarantee of 99.9%

Security Filtering solutions

E-Mail Hosting (40 or fewer users)

Companies that provide services that require drastically varying computer workload demands

Need to scale up / down very quickly to respond to market demands

But isn’t the cloud supposed to cost less?

Not necessarily.  Depending on the situation and your overall IT needs. A big factor in this is the situations listed above and your risk tolerance – what is the cost of downtime and disaster recovery.  Total loss of a building where the infrastructure is would be catastrophic to a business, but the probability is low.  Large companies often know exactly what being down costs them, and it might be in the millions, so they benefit greatly from cloud services.

FOCUS data is backed up more than once daily and to more than one physical location, so downtime would be minimal in times of disaster.  Servers are monitored 24/7/365(6) and the worry of data integrity, backups and recovery are on us, not you.

What is not controlled by FOCUS|Integrity is your internet access and perhaps your devices.  With the ability for remote workforce (case managers, clinicians, therapists, supervisors), most likely not everyone is affected.  There are backups to have in place, like pay-as-you-go cellular hotspots and battery backups for routers and modems.


FOCUS Technologies was created by Integrity IT in January 2015 after the launch of FOCUS-CSS electronic record and wavier management system.

What drives Focus Technologies|Integrity IT?

Every business is ultimately defined by its core values; that’s why at Integrity IT we made our first core value service.

Our goal is that the people we interact with every day – our customers, our vendors, and our staff – will be respected and treated with value.  Getting that piece right leads to relationships – our second core value.  We aspire to long-lasting business partnerships where we help our clients advance in business through the power of IT done right.  Long-term consistency in those two values requires a culture that pursues accountability – our third core value. Whether it’s quality assurance testing and service level agreements or simply our spoken word, our goal is to only make promises we can keep and to deliver on what we say.  These are not easy goals, but they are the goals that deliver the best of the best to our clients, so we pursue them with tenacity – our final core value.

At Integrity IT, we are driven to be the best provider of technology support and services, so we celebrate success stories and always look for ways to improve.

#service     #relationships     #accountability     #tenacity

Are you nervous?

Does using a cloud based application for your records scare you?

The benefits of software, cloud and managed services are too large to ignore and that is why they are growing so fast.  Data and analytics in the cloud is growing quickly in the healthcare industry with more than 63% of hospitals using the cloud.

Reasons include

  1. Speed to Implementation
  2. Better Information Visibility
  3. Improved Data Security
  4. Worldwide Access to Applications
  5. Centralizing Data (across multiple sites)
  6. No more “one-stop shop” to meet needs

It is understandable how hiring someone else, maybe even out of state, to take care of your data creates some nervousness.  It is a long-term partnership and you must get to know your service provider.

So the best advice is to learn more about the company offering the services.

  1. How many people own the company?
  2. Are the owners involved?
  3. Are they financially stable?
  4. Do they do more than cloud service or one product?
  5. Are they experts in their field?
  6. Can you trust them?

FOCUS is a cloud based application.  The parent company is Integrity IT.  Integrity is not just a cloud provider, it is an IT company with diverse skills, expertise, services and customers.  The company is in good financial standing, has 6 active partners, 35 employees and provides IT services to about 500 customers (150 utilizing managed services).  Integrity experiences 95+% retention in both customer and employees.  Integrity IT is registered with the Better Business Bureau and Commerce Lexington.

With FOCUS, you are relying on a company owned by several people where each one is serious about their commitment to the company.  The best way to make your decision might be getting to know our partners and employees – we welcome visitors!

Service Level Agreement

99.9% Industry Standard

99.9% industry standard – what does that mean?

This refers to the amount of “up-time” that is guaranteed – usually meaning server up-time.  So, non-maintenance/unexpected downtime is 0.1% or less.

Google and Microsoft guarantee 99.9%.  FOCUS guarantees 99.9%.  We strive for 100%, and I am sure all IT companies do too.

24-7So how much downtime does that translate to in a year?

99.9% = 8.76 hours

99.95% = 4.38 hours

99.99% = 52.56 minutes

99.999% = 5.26 minutes

For example, in 2015, FOCUS experienced a total of 3.5 hours of interrupted FOCUS access at various points throughout the year. The servers were not down, but we had application errors.  That translates to about 99.96% up-time.

For 2016, so far, it’s 15 minutes.  We continually work to address processes that can slow the system or make it unavailable and eliminate or reduce the occurrence.

Maintenance is required by all software programs and therefore not counted in the 99.9%.  Our updates have taken 10-15 minutes.  We notify our customers when scheduled downtime for maintenance will occur.   This happens after 8 pm  and before 7 am, EST and is excluded from the up-time guarantee.

Unlike a paper record that is stuck at the office, mobile electronic records are available where every you are.  They don’t get coffee stains on them, get lost or need to be copied.

Be secure and available with FOCUS.

Call today for a no-obligation demonstration of FOCUS!  

859-963-2677, extension 2207

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