Baton Rouge Emergency Medical Services
Digitech Systems Reseller:
C.F. Biggs Company, Inc., Shreveport and Baton Rouge, LA
Paper records were stored in boxes across the office and across multiple locations
“We saw an immediate response after we implemented PaperVision Enterprise. It’s simple to use and simple to administer.”
-Chad Guillot, Research and Planning Manager
The East Baton Rouge Parish Department of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) serves 800,000 people, answers 48,000 emergency calls annually and processes 200-500 reports and medical records every day. After 11 years of operation, the EMS billing department had more than 150,000 paper records in boxes stacked in every corner of the office and more records spread across three different locations. Locating information was a scavenger hunt, and the records system had become another emergency to manage.
- Improved productivity by 80%
- Saved $28,000 in annual labor costs
- Saved $3,000 annually by cutting paper use in half
- Reduced invoice collection time by 3 weeks
- Reclaimed storage space across three locations
- Installed the system and trained 80 employees in one week
- Enabled HIPAA compliance
Chad Guillot, EMS Research and Planning Manager, brought in Digitech Systems’ PaperVision Enterprise (PVE) and PaperFlow™ software to build an organized and efficient records system. Today, EMS accesses information in seconds, gains 80 percent productivity on information requests and saves more than $28,000 in labor costs each year.
The Baton Rouge EMS has twice received the Service of the Year award from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. With 128 paramedics and 12 response units, they are responsible for coordinating the dispatch and communications of all emergency medical vehicles within the city.
Every paramedic who responds to an emergency must write a report and submit it for approval. During the approval process, employees were overwhelmed with files as they moved from desk to desk and person to person, all the while asking, “now whose desk is it on?” Paper tracking slowed progress and delayed invoicing by one month.
The billing staff was buried in as many as 200 information requests everyday and eight attorney information requests every week. Two to three people were dedicated entirely to attorney requests, which typically took four to five days to complete. They had to find older files, which were nearly impossible to track in boxes lining hallways and stacked in three different buildings.
“Everywhere we had space, we had boxes. For us, space was a real issue and sometimes the condition of our office became a safety concern,” said Guillot.
EMS files also contain patient medical records, which are subject to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. Records must be physically secure and patient privacy must be maintained. Physical security was lacking, and there was no way to create reports showing who accessed what files, when and why. HIPAA compliance was a struggle and a legal risk.
In 2003, Guillot contacted the C.F. Biggs Company to help him find an affordable solution that would create an electronic records system, allowing easy access for more than 95 users, while enabling HIPAA compliance and saving time, labor and money. He chose several Digitech Systems products that work together as a total information management tool.
“We looked at several systems, but others were not as user friendly as Digitech Systems’ software. There was a short learning curve because it’s simple to use and administer,” said Guillot.
PaperFlow allowed EMS to scan and index reports the minute they were received. Reports are then saved and managed in PVE. Installation was complete after two days, and 80 users were trained in just five days.
Today, the PVE system maintains 450,000 documents. Employees removed 55 boxes and cleared cluttered hallways and offices. Archived records were removed from three different locations, and storage space was reallocated for equipment. Multiple employees can view a report simultaneously without fear of over-writing each other, and they no longer have to follow paper trails or make additional copies. Reports are organized and accessible, not buried or lost. Approval processing takes hours instead of days.
“Now, reports come in, get scanned and approved and go immediately to the billing department,” said Guillot. The system is caught up, and the invoicing lag time is a thing of the past. Invoices are sent one week after the emergency occurred, and billing receives invoice payments three weeks earlier.
Productivity has increased by 80 percent on attorney information requests. Instead of two to three people and five days, attorney requests now take one person and one day, saving 2080 hours of file searching and $28,000 in annual labor costs.
PVE offers administrative control over user access and activity and reports show who accessed and shared information. With records security and privacy, EMS can comply with HIPAA regulations and respond to audits with confidence.
Other benefits include cell phone bill processing. Using 500 pages per person per month, EMS considered cell phone bills their most paper-intensive process. In order to recover the costs of personal cell phone use, EMS made several paper copies of the bills and exchanged them with individual employees. Today, employees view their bills electronically, eliminating the need for multiple copies. As a result, the department has cut its paper consumption in half and saves $3,000 every year.
After experiencing immediate and successful results, EMS decided to expand its use of the PVE system. The prisoner medical records system has also been transferred into PVE, and 15 new users enjoy the efficiency of electronic records. EMS is also working with C.F. Biggs to integrate PVE with its billing software, Ortivus Sweet-Billing. With secure, mobile, web-based access, paramedics are already using PVE to receive information remotely. As more and more response units have internet access in their vehicles, EMS expects to decentralize all paramedics’ work.
About C.F. Biggs Company, Inc.
Founded in 1950, the C. F. Biggs Company believes in providing the best products and the best service available. Their mission is to deliver the highest quality document solutions supported by legendary customer service, while providing a secure and prosperous work environment. They offer a complete line of office products including digital imaging equipment in addition to the Digitech Systems products. Their success has earned them the National Service Excellence Award. A Digitech Systems reseller since 1999, C.F. Biggs has consistently been a top performer earning recognition in the Circle of Excellence and as the Top Reseller in 2004 and 2005.
To learn more about C.F. Biggs visit their website at www.cfbiggs.com or call toll free at 1-800-264-5333.