Ochsner Health System is southeastern Louisiana’s largest nonprofit, multi-specialty, academic healthcare delivery system. The health system is comprised of 29 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals, and more than 60 health centers.

Ochsner was seeking an advanced solution to keep up with 12,000 to 13,000 monthly Release of Information (ROI) requests, while mitigating breach risk across the enterprise.

Enterprise-Wide Disclosure Management

Ochsner implemented MRO’s web-based ROI Online® platform within their health information management (HIM) departments in September 2013 to handle billing and medical ROI across the system and radiology at five locations. Delivering a truly enterprise-wide disclosure management solution, the implementation allowed Ochsner to achieve the standardization and centralization they sought. MRO’s solution enabled Ochsner to realize efficiency and quality improvements across their organization.

Efficiency and Quality Improvements across System

Many of the efficiency and quality improvements Ochsner realized come from MRO’s National Service Center, located near historic Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. MRO’s specialized support teams handle a variety of responsibilities, including requester services, billing, invoicing, distribution and quality checks.

The National Service Center Requester Services team handles requester and patient correspondence regarding Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosure, which allows the onsite ROI team to focus on ROI accuracy and service. Each month, the Requester Services team sends over 4,000 ROI Confirmation and Issue Notification letters to requesters, guiding them through the ROI process and steering all communication to MRO’s Requester Services team. Approximately 2,500 status and issue resolution calls per month are redirected from Ochsner to MRO’s National Service Center, where requesters receive the same care and attention Ochsner would provide.

Patient requests are handled with extra care. MRO’s Patient Advocate program, launched in February 2016, prioritizes urgent patient calls. The Patient Advocate provides specialized support to patients, with a heightened sense of compassion and empathy, by expeditiously identifying and resolving the issue, while also simplifying and facilitating navigation of the ROI process. Since the Patient Advocate program was launched, MRO’s Patient Advocate team has handled dozens of urgent patient calls on behalf of Ochsner.

The National Service Center teams also handle billing, invoicing and collections. MRO generates an average of 4,548 invoices for Ochsner on a monthly basis; MRO’s company-wide collection rate averages at about 92 percent.

MRO’s National Service Center distribution and integrity teams apply industry-leading Quality Assurance (QA) measures for PHI disclosure, enabling Ochsner to improve accuracy and compliance, and safeguard the health system against breach. MRO’s QA program includes “second set of eyes” quality checks on all ROI authorizations, request documentation and medical records. This process includes leveraging MRO’s proprietary record integrity application, IdentiScan®, which uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to “read” every page of a medical record to validate that the record belongs to the correct patient.

Typical ROI processes yield a 90 percent accuracy rate; MRO drives Ochsner’s accuracy to a near-perfect 99.99 percent. MRO’s unique workflow, advanced technology and QA process minimize improper disclosures for Ochsner each year, drastically reducing the risk of breach and financial penalty.

Ongoing Success through Innovation

Other improvements come from Ochsner’s use of Direct Secure Messaging (DSM), a secure, standards-based electronic PHI exchange solution. Since integrating DSM with MRO’s ROI Online platform in June 2015, Ochsner has minimized the faxing of records, improving efficiency and reducing breach risk. MRO has sent over 1,500 Direct Secure Messages on behalf of Ochsner.

The use of DSM is especially helpful to Ochsner for all the work they do with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Without a VA hospital in the area, veterans are referred to Ochsner for treatment, historically requiring copious amounts of faxing, with the VA requesting 700–1,200 records at a time. With Direct Secure Messaging in place, the entire process is streamlined, simplified and more secure.

Additionally, in September 2015, Ochsner began leveraging MRO’s Remote Services division to move portions of ROI work from the facilities to MRO’s National Service Center. Between September 2015 and February 2017, the MRO Remote Services team has logged 57,518 requests on behalf of Ochsner, allowing onsite staff to focus on customer service and patient care.

Ochsner additionally synced MRO’s ROI Online platform with their Epic system, through MRO’s integration tool MROeLink®, in late 2016, and has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of requests logged per hour, and a 20 percent increase in requests released per hour.

The Right People

Access to MRO management has aided the improvements to Ochsner’s ROI process. MRO management holds monthly onsite meetings with Ochsner management, as well as bi-monthly conference calls with Ochsner staff members, to review updates and provide training and education.