HCA/ North Texas Division and FormFast
“Make sure your boss gets a copy of this.” “Get a memo out. We can’t afford to make this mistake again.” “Memo? What memo?” Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. A misplaced message can mean a lost sale; a smudged fax might place an order for 100,000 units instead of 1,000. Costly mistakes. But nothing compares to the high-stakes healthcare environment. Misplaced or inaccurately labeled information can dramatically affect patients’ lives. It’s a situation facing hospitals across the country. And finding the solutions to these challenges is at the core of FormFast, Inc. ”
Here’s our objective. We want to give hospitals the flexibility and reliability to print forms on demand on laser printers when and where those forms are needed,” says Ed Korba, VP of Marketing at FormFast. “In other words, our products eliminate the need for pre-printed forms, continuous feed line printers and the manual distribution of those forms.” FormFast achieves this goal with its fully integrated application software— enabling seamless utilization throughout all hospital departments.
Hospitals in HCA’s North Texas Division have adopted FormFast software tools to enhance their service to patients while improving processes across their facilities. “FormFast’s easy-to-use software allows hospital personnel full control over all elements of the design and updating of forms. The elegance of this product becomes obvious when the hospital begins converting the hundreds of pre-printed forms into forms on demand,” adds Korba.
And while FormFast seeks to make its client/hospitals self-sufficient, hospitals have the option of utilizing FormFast to scan and convert additional forms. This option includes the mapping of data to the form and routing to appropriate printers. Personnel will still be free to make changes to forms, but the initial burden of putting hundreds of forms online is borne by FormFast, not the hospital.
As Texans might say, when you’ve got a really big ranch, the herd tends to spread all over the place. And that’s not a good thing when your responsibilities are in healthcare.
But in true Texas style, Peper is realizing big-time success using FormFast software applications. “We have hospitals that claim savings from $60,000 to $100,000 a year on forms,” says Peper.
HCA’s North Texas Division: Saving Money and Streamlining Processes
“My job is to look at areas where we feel we can do a better job, improve patient care, cut costs, and ensure quality,” explains Dwight Peper, Division Director of Contracting and Business Diversity, North Texas Division of HCA, Inc.
As Texans might say, when you’ve got a really big ranch, the herd tends to spread all over the place. And that’s not a good thing when your responsibilities are in healthcare. But in true Texas style, Peper is realizing big-time success using FormFast software applications.
“We looked at our current spending on forms for the Division and then we looked at the process,” explains Peper. After careful analysis in the North Texas Division Peper and his team assessed a wide range of vendors. “We decided on FormFast for a number of reasons,” says Peper. “But one of the key factors was that we could put FormFast software on our Meditech server.”
After signing a division contract, FormFast conducted a pilot study with Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, a 320-bed medical facility offering comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services. “Once our IT (Information Technology) directors saw the value, we moved forward to get the other hospitals to put FormFast in place,” adds Peper. After the pilot study, hospitals in Peper’s division also added the Meditech forms component. “FormFast works seamlessly and sits on the Meditech server. This way, instead of going to a Windows program, Meditech generates the forms.”
Peper adds that he plans to load FormFast software onto the system tower. “Once that’s done, all the hospitals in the North Texas Division—which range from 40-700 beds each—will have access to the application.”
The process improvements at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth have been dramatic, especially in the hospital’s Admissions department, according to Peper. “Previously, when a patient came in, the Admissions staff printed a sheet of labels and had to hand affix 6 to 10 labels on forms. And the patient had to sit there and wait while the staff assembled the admissions pack. Now, the staff just push the “PRINT” button and the admissions forms print, in the correct order, with the patient information printed on each one based on patient type.” Plus all the patient information sheets, i.e. hospital information, billing information, and consent forms, and a host of other informational sheets can be added or deleted based on patient type. One other great advantage is that color pages can be inserted when required if you have access to color printing.
And the good news just keeps getting better. Cost savings for hospitals in the North Texas Division are already adding up to some impressive numbers. “At one hospital, our admissions packet was costing us about $2.40 per packet. Now that we’re using forms on demand, we’ve reduced the unit cost to about 45 cents per packet without the printed file folder,” says Peper. The return on investment is growing as hospitals get the full system up and running. “We have hospitals that claim savings from $60,000 to $100,000 a year on forms,” says Peper. And with a dozen hospitals in the North Texas division alone, those per-year savings become even more dramatic.
The phase-in of preprinted forms includes Admissions, Outpatient and Day Surgery, Inpatient Surgery and Nursing divisions. According to Peper, the hospitals are even printing prescription forms on demand—a step that adds to patient safety while also eliminating the security issues surrounding blank prescription pads.
Of course, even positive changes take some getting used to. “Forms on Demand offers a lot of advantages, but if you’re thinking of doing it, you need to get all your ducks in a row and make the commitment to see it through,” advises Peper. “Just putting the system in place is only part of the job. You really need someone to champion the changes at the hospital—in all the areas that might benefit—or you’ve stopped short of real success. When you start looking at the number of forms in one hospital the number can range from 1,000 to 2,000 forms that could be added to the FormFast Project.” Keeping track of change makes sense. But when situations mandate change to improve healthcare delivery, what makes sense is also essential.