Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit healthcare organization based in Roanoke, Virginia. Through a comprehensive network of eight hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices and other complementary services, the organization works to provide quality care close to home for nearly 1 million Virginians.

Health Information Management (HIM) leadership at Carilion Clinic sought an advanced solution to compliantly and efficiently respond to 10,000 Release of Information (ROI) requests made to the healthcare organization each month. Prior to partnering with MRO, ROI requests were processed by 23 specialists who relied on many manual processes that not only created inefficiencies but also increased the risk of errors that could result in privacy breach.

MRO Solution

In August 2017, Carilion Clinic partnered with MRO for Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure management to meet their compliance and operational goals—improve productivity, efficiency and quality. Carilion Clinic selected MRO based on the company’s reputation, quality-infused workflows, proactive management team, transparency and advanced technology including an integration with Epic’s ROI module.

Since implementing MRO’s KLAS-rated #1 ROI technologies and leveraging staff both onsite and at the vendor’s centralized National Service Center, Carilion Clinic has realized improvements in accuracy, productivity, morale and service. One of the most notable improvements is a reduction from 23 to 9 full-time employees. Prior to go-live, MRO was confident in reducing headcount to 19 employees due to known efficiencies in their solution. However, after the staff became proficient with the new platform, it became clear that 19 ROI specialists were unnecessary.

How Carilion Clinic Reduced Full-Time ROI Staff from 23 to 9 Employees

A post-implementation site visit with Carilion Clinic HIM leadership revealed that the ROI staff is exponentially more productive since implementing the new platform. “The enhanced technologies and services provided by MRO, along with the educated staff onsite and improved morale, provide a work environment that enables staff to perform at their best each day,” said Cindy Phelps, RHIA, Senior Director, TSG Business Relationship Management. “Our transition was smooth and seamless for all involved, resulting in greater productivity, efficiency and quality.”

Over 60 percent of the prior vendor’s staff—14 of 23 full-time employees—were redeployed from Carilion Clinic to work for other MRO client facilities. As a result of the decreased staff, Carilion Clinic saw payroll savings of over $400,000 annually, reducing the overall cost of ROI services. A combination of advanced technology and workflow features increased productivity that led to staff reduction.

Integrating with the Epic ROI Module

From a technology standpoint, MRO’s ability to interface with Carilion Clinic’s Epic EHR led to improvement. In conjunction with MRO’s flagship ROI Online® platform, Carilion chose to implement MROeLink®, a bidirectional interface between the ROI platform and Epic’s ROI module. This tool enables ROI staff to work on multiple requests simultaneously and automates steps required for working in both an ROI system and the Epic platform—such as dual-logging requests and closing requests in two systems. With MROeLink in place, the time needed to process requests is reduced by approximately 50 percent and the risk of human error is minimized.

Enhancing Productivity and Accuracy through Centralization

In addition to the efficiencies created with MROeLink, moving multiple ROI workflow tasks to the centralized National Service Center enabled onsite staff at Carilion Clinic to process ROI requests quicker and with higher levels of accuracy.

Carilion Clinic had the benefit of experienced staff with extensive knowledge of ROI and medical records—a cohesive team eager to make an easy transition to a new platform. Across the board, staff provide positive feedback about the shift of multiple tasks to MRO’s service center. These tasks include requester validation and assignment, additional quality checks, billing and collections, and requester communications such as status calls and emails. On average, 1,150 requester calls are automatically routed to MRO via a phone tree option each month. Since transitioning to MRO’s solution, improved efficiencies and faster turnaround times have resulted in 240 fewer requester calls each month, which translates to approximately 12 hours of time on the phone.

With fewer tasks to manage and minimized interruptions, ROI specialists at Carilion Clinic can remain focused on the tasks at hand and provide enhanced customer service, with a PHI disclosure accuracy rate of 99.98 percent. Additionally, since transitioning to MRO and reducing the onsite headcount, employees have more space to perform their work and have implemented flexible hour options. As a result, HIM management reports a boost in ROI staff morale.