Background

Saint Luke’s Health System (SLHS), based in Kansas City, Missouri, includes 16 hospitals and campuses across Missouri and Kansas, home care and hospice, behavioral health services, physician practices, the College of Health Sciences, and more. As the health system continues to expand, its leadership is committed to maintaining a standard of excellence and delivering the highest level of quality care. Nationally recognized, SLHS consistently receives high patient satisfaction scores.

In 2017, shortly after ambulatory was consolidated under the health system, SLHS Health Information Management (HIM) leadership recognized a need to implement a better solution for managing Protected Health Information (PHI) disclosures across the enterprise.

To ensure SLHS patients and other requesters of PHI received the highest levels of quality and customer service, HIM leadership turned to MRO, a company with a proven record of accomplishment for handling ROI in both hospital and ambulatory settings. In order to compliantly and efficiently respond to 4,100 monthly requests, the health system needed advanced technology and services.

MRO Solution

In August 2018, SLHS collaborated with MRO for PHI disclosure management after evaluating multiple national and regional ROI vendors. SLHS selected MRO based on several key factors including its dedication to clients and requesters, layers of support from responsive teams of experts, and the ability to leverage technology to improve workflow. Additionally, SLHS HIM leadership recognized MRO’s reputation as a true partner to providers, delivering exceptional quality in ROI.

“Reputation goes a long way,” said Sharon Korzdorfer, HIM Director for SLHS. “Sales teams can sell anything, but what I have heard consistently from my HIM peers is that MRO always comes to the table prepared to meet and exceed expectations.”

After just several months of using MRO’s services and technologies, SLHS reported the following benefits

  • Faster turnaround times
  • High levels of accuracy
  • Efficiencies resulting in the reduction of a full-time employee (FTE) and minimized overtime
  • Improved customer experience for patients and other requesters of PHI

Leveraging Technology for Improved Workflows

SLHS implemented MRO’s flagship PHI disclosure management platform, ROI Online®, along with MROeLink®, a bidirectional interface between the ROI solution and the health system’s Epic EHR ROI module.

SLHS had long sought an Epic integration, knowing it would be a vital component in improving efficiencies and accuracy. The MROeLink tool enables SLHS ROI staff to work on multiple requests simultaneously and automates manual steps for working in both an ROI system and the Epic ROI module–such as dual-logging requests and closing requests in two systems. Eliminating manual processes reduces the time needed to process requests and minimizes human error.

In addition to enhancing the ROI workflow through MROeLink, MRO introduced ways to further improve processes, productivity and service quality. According to Korzdorfer, “Subtle changes in workflow, such as processing requests by priority rather than location, have eliminated backlog issues and reduced requester calls. And, MRO’s dedicated payer relations team helped implement new processes for responding to Medicare Risk Adjustment reviews, which has been seamless and effortless on the behalf of SLHS.”

Further improvements resulted from moving requester relations and correspondence to MRO’s National Service Center teams. For example, prior to implementing MRO’s solution, SLHS staff handled requester communications regarding invalid requests, and created a new request once the appropriate information was collected. MRO’s process notifies requesters automatically and original requests stay on hold until all issues are resolved—and no duplicates are created.

First Three Months of Partnership: Impressive Results

With enhanced workflows and technology in place, SLHS reports impressive results in the first few months of working with MRO. Turnaround times for requests to clinics have decreased from four months to under 10 days. In addition, while the ROI staffing has reduced, turnaround times for hospital requests remain consistent with past metrics—averaging around four days.

The SLHS HIM leadership team speculates accuracy is about the same but acknowledges MRO’s added benefit of immediate visibility into any incidents that occur. Transparency and detail offered in MRO’s ROI Online platform have improved overall efficiency and service quality.

Prior to the MRO implementation, when requesters were seeking updates on requests, they had to contact SLHS for specifics as the systems used were not compatible and viewing notes that were placed in Epic was not possible for the former vendor staff. During the first three months of partnership with SLHS, MRO’s National Service Center fielded over 3,600 calls on behalf of the health system. As a result, SLHS reports fewer calls to the facility and reduced requester complaints, reflecting improvements in the patient and requester experience.

Backed by a Team of Industry Experts

Korzdorfer noted that MRO has an organizational structure that provides access to experts rather
than generalists. “Throughout my experience with the company—from sales, through implementation and training, to the current operational partnership—MRO’s industry experts have been accessible, responsive, communicative and eager to help. It is so refreshing that MRO cares.”