DocuWare

Remote Employees Drive Accounting Processes at Car Dealership

Remote Employees Drive Accounting Processes at Car Dealership

docuWareHome Run Auto Group implemented DocuWare to consolidate its accounting staff spread among 27 dealerships into a remote, cohesive 16-person corporate department all individually working from home. The company reduced printing and personnel costs but more importantly, gained the ability to reassign workloads based on processes, not location, resulting in increased efficiency.

Home Run Auto Group has 27 dealerships across the Midwest and other “hub” companies that provide services to their dealerships such as an ad agency, as well as several other real estate companies. Established in 1962 with one dealership, the group truly began its rapid growth in 2002 with additional dealerships being purchased almost every year to present day. , The company now has 54 different companies under the Home Run Auto Group umbrella.

Requirements

A few years ago Home Run Auto Group asked their CPA to join them as their CFO and take on the task of centralizing their car dealership’s accounting processes. The new CFO, Justin Fehrman, was excited to take on this challenge. One of his goals was to find a solution that would allow his staff to work remotely, in order to keep his best people. Relocating employees to a corporate office hours away was not a viable option. He knew he needed a solution that 1) would allow employees to efficiently work from home, 2) had customizable workflows, 3) was modular and would be easy to tweak when needed, and 4) could integrate with their dealer software, Dealertrack. After meeting with four document management vendors to learn about the benefits and tradeoffs of different solutions, DocuWare was selected.

“Dealership offices are so busy with people always coming and going. We wanted to make our employees more efficient and give them some peace and quiet to get their work done, but we didn’t want to require them to relocate and run the risk of losing them. People are our most valuable asset that we manage. So we moved them home so they could be more efficient,” said Justin Fehrman, CFO for Home Run Auto Group.

Solution

DocuWare was rolled out to the dealership and hub companies. As a first step, all the accounting personnel were pulled out of the dealerships and set up to work from home.

As accounting functions were being moved off-site, the dealership digitized many work processes at once. Office managers now scan and import documents into DocuWare where they are automatically indexed with information pulled from the dealer software, eliminating double data entry. Once the information is in DocuWare, it’s easily processed and posted in the accounting system by the remote accounting staff. Today, accounts payable invoices, repair orders and deal jackets containing up to 100 documents required for a vehicle sales such as a driver’s license scan, insurance information, credit application and title are all processed this same way. When a customer comes to pick up their vehicle after a repair, they sign the repair order which is then scanned into DocuWare so their signature is on file.

Additionally, DocuWare is being used for cash management. Home Run Auto Group requires two signatures on every check and DocuWare allows this safety feature to stay in place even with remote processing. The accounting team simply creates a check with one signature and stores it in DocuWare. The general manager prints the check and adds his signature to complete the process.

After seeing the benefits of one information archive, DocuWare was expanded to the human resources and payroll departments to securely store confidential information and streamline the payroll approval process.

Benefits

“Once we moved to a digital workflow we realized some of our processes were not very efficient. DocuWare had the flexibility we craved that allowed us to easily change our workflow and simplify tasks for our employees,” said Fehrman.

Home Run Auto Group is now able to quickly book transactions from repair work and vehicle sales in their accounting program, as well as maintain a secure record of each vehicle sold or worked on.

With DocuWare in place, the accounting department has been able to reassign tasks for more efficient processing. For example, now one employee handles the payroll for five dealerships, while another takes care of Accounts Payables for 12 dealerships, and so on.

“In the past I would have needed 27 accountants, one for each dealership. But with the efficiency we’ve gained with DocuWare we can complete our work with only 16 people. We moved some employees into positions outside accounting. During our transition, we only lost one person,” said Fehrman.

Their return on investment was quick with a personnel savings for the department of $660,000 annually and an additional savings of $260,000 a year by reducing printing costs, such as toner, paper and hardware.

On a personal note, the CFO and controller are very happy with DocuWare’s transparent nature. They can see how timely things are processed, if someone is behind and if they need to re-configure a workflow or workload.

“One of the biggest benefits for me is the added internal controls and my ability to do a mini- audit on any dealership, without driving 13 hours,” said Fehrman.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the biggest benefit DocuWare has brought Home Run Auto Group is a consolidation of their accounting processes. Being able to set up remote staff and having the ease of modifying workflows as needed has allowed them to keep their best talent. The company placed a lot of value on having the flexibility to continually improve their processes and DocuWare gives them the tools to do so.



The Tasks

  • Digitize documents in order to move accounting staff offsite and improve efficiency
  • Implement a solution with customizable electronic workflows
  • Integrate dealer software with document management system


The Benefits

  • Reduced accounting costs by increasing employee efficiency through grouping processes
  • Gave management transparency and the ability to monitor workloads and perform audits
  • Provided secure storage of deal jackets, repair orders and human resource files


DocuWare

U.S. Headquarters
4 Crotty Lane
Suite 200
New Windsor, NY 12553

Why Did We Build a Cloud Product Before Everyone Else?

Welcome to Part 1 of our new mini-series of blog posts, “Leading in the Cloud”. Over the course of five posts, we’ll track DocuWare’s journey from a traditional on-premises software company to a market-leading cloud services company, all while staying true to our customers, partners and product vision.

The first installment covers the signals we saw in the marketplace that initiated our move to the cloud – even though no one else was doing it.

We Were Doing Just Fine Without the Cloud

By today’s startup pace, DocuWare is not a young company. Founded nearly 30 years ago, we’ve been building and delivering document management and workflow technology for customers all over the world.

While many of our competitors build complex products reliant on expensive, lengthy and painful professional services, DocuWare designed technology for the masses under a simple idea: help the knowledge worker do their job, and avoid the IT headaches of complicated software.

Some Metrics of Our Growth

Our strategy was sound: we built a robust channel business (over 500 partners today) that delivered growth and profitability for literally decades. We went global (70 countries, 16 languages), we spanned industries (hundreds) and gained thousands of loyal users (over 175,000). In short: DocuWare was doing great selling enterprise, on-premises software.

Cloud Was Fringe

With years of growth and no signs of slowing, why did DocuWare move to the cloud? Competitors weren’t chasing it. Customers weren’t demanding it. Analysts were barely talking about it. In those early days, cloud was a fringe idea with high barriers of skepticism.

Early Signals of Something Big

Web applications have been around almost since the dawn of the Web. Online email, for instance, signaled a new way of thinking about a browser: instead of a means to consume static information, it became a means to create and move dynamic information. This concept shifted the entire foundation of the web from publishing-centric XHTML to application-centric HTML5.

Redefining Applications for the Consumer

Within years, consumers were provided online tools that changed our definition of “application.” Google revolutionized email with Gmail, mapping software with Google Maps, office applications with Google Docs. BaseCamp provided teams with agile project management. Social networks like Facebook were conceived, born and grown within a browser. DropBox handled basic file storage. Suddenly, productivity could blossom without ever installing a local piece of software. And consumers loved it.

The consumer drive to cloud was made complete with the launch of the iPhone. Overnight, the world moved to apps and always-on connectivity. Cloud was the backbone.

Redefining Applications for the Enterprise

On the enterprise side, Salesforce ushered in a complete revolution in how organizations acquired, consumed, scaled and paid for their mission-critical technology. “Subscription services” replaced “licensed software.” The entire buying cycle moved from IT to business owner.

Still, most ECM players ignored the trends. The industry heavy-weights stubbornly focused on traditional, on-premises software despite every market signal pointing to a very different-looking future.

Key signals that drove DocuWare to create enterprise document management and workflow cloud services

The market signals that drove the decision to build DocuWare Cloud.

For DocuWare, the signals were clear: user-centric, mobile-enabled connectivity; large-scale sales teams embracing cloud-driven CRM; individuals and business units embracing cloud file storage.

We assumed, correctly as it turns out, that businesses would want to shed the weight of their outdated ECM technology and employ document management, process automation and intelligent document workflow delivered via cloud.

The Benefits of Cloud Document Management

Specifically, our decision was driven by the following customer benefits of cloud:

  • No local installation, including plugins
  • No hardware and software maintenance, including upgrades and security patches
  • Always using the latest software
  • Only pay for services actually used
  • Subscription model removes price barrier to entry
  • World-wide, high-availability access
  • More efficient use of resources à green technology

Our Milestones Building a Modern Cloud Service

2002 Our R&D team redesigned DocuWare with a highly scalable, multi-layered architecture.
2008 DocuWare launched a robust web client where users could access central document pools from any location. This was a very popular extension of the core DocuWare system for individuals who did not want to install software and plugins on local workstations.
2009 DocuWare offered its first software as a service (SaaS) through the private cloud.
2010 Decision to build a true cloud solution.
2012 DocuWare delivered its first public cloud SaaS offering called DocuWare Online. This landmark release enabled rapid registration and delivered 80 percent of the features from the on-premises solution.
2014 DocuWare Online was renamed DocuWare Cloud and moved onto the Microsoft Azure platform.

Today: a Complete Cloud Office Automation Solution

Today, there is now 100% feature and user experience parity between DocuWare Cloud and the DocuWare on-premises solution. None of our competitors have delivered this “complete cloud” vision. But we believe in a zero-compromise product that provides customers choice in how and when they want to bring DocuWare into their cloud strategy.

The response has been enthusiastic. In future blog posts, we’ll cover customer and revenue growth with our cloud services, and explore the many technical challenges we solved along the way.

Visit www.blog.docuware.com for the rest of the series.

Car Dealership Improves Customer Service by Streamlining Business Processes

2017-06-06_22-50-30Moritz of Fort Worth, a large car dealership, implemented DocuWare to simplify their work processes, bringing transparency to repair orders and the processing of warranty claims. Consolidating paperwork from four locations to one digital archive improved customer service, increased efficiency and strengthened document retention standards, shielding the company from fines for missing documents during an audit.

Moritz is a large, privately owned new and used car dealer group with four locations in the Fort Worth, Texas area. The dealer group has three Kia dealerships, as well as a Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Ram group. For more than 40 years, Moritz has provided their customers with quality cars and trustworthy repair services.

Requirements The service department is a large profit center in any dealership, so ensuring all repair orders and supplemental documents have been correctly recorded was one of Moritz’s primary goals. Additionally, Moritz follows each manufacturer’s requirements on how documents are filed, when date and time stamps must be used, and when signatures need to be ink or digital. Failure to follow document requirements can leave a dealership open to large fines from a manufacturer.

Solution Moritz reached out to their IT vendor and Authorized DocuWare Partner because they have in-depth knowledge about car dealership documentation requirements and their existing dealer software, Reynolds & Reynolds. They provided Moritz with a vision of how they could integrate DocuWare into their current IT landscape, cost-effectively storing electronic documents that were not created in-house with the ability to add them to a repair order or other information packets. Their dealer software’s document management system could not perform this feature.

DocuWare’s functionality, flexibility and price point were influential. Dealerships typically have a high employee turnover rate and Moritz knew that they would constantly be training new employees to use the system, so ease-of-use was critical.

For the Service team, a repair order is created when a customer pulls into the service bay and the Service Advisor begins the paperwork for the scheduled repair. This document follows the car into the repair shop; the mechanic may add other documents such as test results, repair or replace analysis worksheets, or sublet repair invoices. The mechanic signs and dates their work and then passes the packet back to the Service Advisor. The customer signs the repair order when they come to pick up their vehicle.

Once the customer picks up their vehicle, the repair packets are scanned and indexed. DocuWare collects information from the Reynolds & Reynolds print file to help automate indexing. If additional documents need to be added to a repair packet later, they can be electronically “stapled” to the packet.

If a customer pays for the repair, the workflow is complete. For repairs that need to be submitted to the manufacturer or a third-party provider for a warranty or extended warranty payments, documentations is reviewed and submitted electronically.

Benefits DocuWare was so successful in the Repair Shop that the system was replicated in Moritz’s Body Shop. Since the Body Shop has even more incoming invoices, moving everything into DocuWare was a logical step.

Moritz can now easily meet manufacturer’s document requirements. Filing, retrieving and purging repair orders filed by VIN number was a lengthy and arduous process when working with paper files. With DocuWare, Moritz staff spend significantly less time scanning than they did filing, virtually no time retrieving documents while reducing storage space.

DocuWare helps the dealership stay profitable by quickly identifying missing documents or incomplete repair orders. Any needed management approvals are done electronically, speeding up the workflow. Waiting for warranty and extended warranty payments can slow down a dealer’s cash flow and increasing the transparency of these important processes is critical.

Conclusion “Once we digitized our repair paperwork, we were able to completely eliminate one file room and use that footage to expand our waiting room into a nicer, larger room to improve our customer’s experience with us. Pair this with our ability to track long service issues and access complete vehicle information from any one of our other locations, has made customer service rise to new levels of satisfaction. Internally, we benefit as well, now that warranty audits are stress free. We know every document will be in our system eliminating the worry of large fines for missing documentation,” said Jeff Robinson, Fixed Operations Director.

 

---------------------------------------Bulleted Lists-----------------

 

The Tasks

·         Implement a flexible document management solution that can     store scanned documents

·         Simplify filing and retrieving

  • Share information between dealer locations and departments

The Benefits

·         Transparent processes ensure warranty payments are received

  • Better customer service
  • Simpler workflows generate happy, more efficient employees



DocuWare Corporation | 4 Crotty Lane, Suite 200 | New Windsor, NY 12553         (888) 565-5907 | www.docuware.com

DocuWare Ensures Success for Title Insurance Company

docuWare

Insuring Correct Information

Arkansas-based title company, Community Title & Escrow, uses DocuWare to manage and store their vast database of property records. The solution allowed them to grow their business to 3 additional counties by giving employees shared access to one database of information. By reducing their turnaround time to under 48 hours, the company gained a huge competitive advantage. Secure document management also streamlined regulation compliance and the completion of audits.



Founded in 1886, Community Title & Escrow (CTE) provides title insurance for properties located in Clay, Greene, Craighead and Poinsette counties, in Northeast Arkansas. The company maintains its own archive of every land transaction in the area since the early 1800s when records were first kept. Document types include: maps, deeds, lawsuit notices, judgements, liens and more.

Requirements

When Van Winton took over the family title business in the mid-90s, researching ownership of a piece of property was a manual process. Documents were geographically indexed in “tract books” that directed employees to numbered boxes or binders to access the physical documents which make up the chain-of-title. As CTE grew and acquired other title companies, manually maintaining all these records became very difficult.

Solution

At a state convention, Winton saw a demo of document management software and knew this was what he needed to modernize his company. CTE chose to implement DocuWare because of its security, ease-of-use and flexibility and the fact that it had been in use for more than decade. In addition, DocuWare’s scalability features have been able to keep pace with CTE’s continued growth during this time.

Today, CTE’s database has grown to contain over 40 million images. They index 1,500 multi-page documents, or about 5,000 pages, a day with 20 different index fields. Staff members digitally highlight information on the document to tag it as an index field, speeding the process and eliminating manual re-entry errors.

Local county courthouses maintain the legal record of property transfers by storing the information only alphabetically by the buyer or grantee name. CTE’s documents are not only indexed alphabetically but also by the actual legal description and various other information contained in the recorded instruments providing them with complete and easy to follow chain-of-title for each property.

“We have a digital copy of every document on file in each court house. Our database is easy to search. Our documents are scanned and indexed by property description and the parties’ names,” said Van Winton, President and Owner of Community Title & Escrow.

Benefits

With DocuWare, CTE can research a property’s history and create the title insurance document in less than 48 hours, versus 4-7 days for other companies that do not maintain their own records.

“Having our own database or title plant is the key to our success. Without our own database, we would have two choices: lease access to a title plant which could cost upwards of $20,000 a month, or rely on the county courthouse records and increase our property research time frame and the possibility of errors going undetected. With DocuWare in place, we have a low operating cost and are able to provide our clients with a quick turn-around. Both of these factors give us a huge competitive advantage,” said Winton.

As the company expanded into new counties and acquired other title companies and their documents, they were able to scan or import those new documents into DocuWare. CTE stores information in one trusted system, regardless of source. Even the very oldest records from the 1800s have been scanned and are managed with DocuWare. Because these records are infrequently accessed, they were not indexed, but using DocuWare’s fulltext search feature CTE can find what they are looking for every time.

“If we were still manually indexing information in tract books, we would not be able to keep up with the volume of information we receive. With DocuWare in place, we’ve expanded our business and reassigned two-thirds of Title department employees to other departments. DocuWare has improved our efficiency and allows us to effortlessly keep up with volume of documents we receive from the courthouses to add to our database,” exclaimed Winton.

The company’s 20 employees from across 4 branch offices all have access to the information in DocuWare, allowing CTE to balance workloads among employees in different offices.

The solution also helps CTE meet regulations established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency who ensures that all consumers have access to markets for consumer financial products and services that are fair, transparent, and competitive. One regulation requires a minimum 30 year search for each property. CTE prints a report in DocuWare about the search and adds this report to the property’s record. DocuWare also helps the company comply with other regional regulations and streamlines its yearly audit by AIM+, the company’s closing software.

Conclusion

In conclusion Winton said, “In the world of title insurance, you can’t be close, you have to be right! DocuWare is easy to use, very accurate and can handle a large volume of records. It is a core piece of our IT infrastructure.”

DocuWare Corporation | 4 Crotty Lane, Suite 200 | New Windsor, NY 12553       

(888) 565-5907 | www.docuware.com

How Cloud Document Management Can Cure 5 IT Headaches

IT departments are constantly under siege by demands from “the business.” They usually run something like this:


“We want a mobile app!” (Translation: we’re connected to the business through a range of mobile devices and our productivity can’t suffer.)


“Why will it take so long?” (Translation: in a world of user-friendly apps and electronics where things just work, why does this kind of software take forever just to turn on?)


“Put our project first!” (Translation: we have scope, budget and executive approval -- and our project will make a big difference for the company.)


“That’s not it! … Change it!” (Translation: shifting scope is part of changing goals and executive direction, and we need to move quickly to adapt.)


“We found our own solution!” (Translation: we don’t need to go through a complicated procurement process – we found a cloud solution that just needs a credit card to start right now.)


These headaches are often caused by legacy software that simply fails to deliver on the needs of a modern business. Outdated content and document management systems are frequent villains: updates are difficult and expensive, integrations frequently break, and access is impossible through mobile devices. Why can’t it just be easier?


Cloud document management is a key enabler for a new set of IT requirements driven by “the business.” It solves five crucial pain points that are often the source of the “demands” listed above.


MOBILITY:  Cloud solutions are about total availability, anytime and anywhere – device, OS and physical location are irrelevant to staff getting work done. Key tasks like capturing, routing and approving documents should all be available.


PRODUCTIVITY: Rapid set-up, short learning curves and zero downtime enable workers, managers and executives to manage documents and participate in digital workflow with minimal disruption to the business.


AGILITY:  Turning on new services, adding new users, configuring new workflows and more are handled instantly with simple licensing terms.


SCALABILITY:  Cloud is key for businesses that value scalability. By leveraging robust datacenter stacks and infrastructure backbones like Microsoft Azure, near-infinite storage and compute power are available.


CONTROL:  Security is never not a priority. Cloud document management systems take advantage of active, comprehensive datacenter security as well as robust user profiles controlled from a single system.


Document management means considerably more than just archiving and managing documents electronically. It’s ultimately a system empowering geographically dispersed knowledge workers to participate in digital workflow that takes the friction out of their daily responsibilities.


Cloud-based document management cures the most common IT headaches while enabling both the technology experts and the business owners to succeed. Ready to see a document management solution in action? Schedule your personalized demo today.

Rawlings Sporting Goods Scores Big with Cloud Document Management

Rawlings Sporting Goods Scores Big with Cloud Document Management

Rawlings Sporting Goods implemented DocuWare Cloud to improve information sharing and communication with its vendors worldwide. Since implementing this cloud document management solution, the company sped up its production through business process automation, raised the quality of customer interactions, and improved customer service and vendor relations.

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., established in 1887 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading manufacturer and marketer of sporting goods in the United States. They focus on developing and producing innovative, high-performance equipment and protective apparel for the professional, amateur and entry-level player. Known for their quality baseball equipment, the company also makes softballs, footballs and basketballs, as well as operating a robust custom uniform business. Rawlings sells direct to end-consumers through retail stores, schools, leagues and booster organizations.

Requirements

The Rawlings customer service team works with clients to create custom products such as apparel, uniforms, sporting equipment and other licensed items. With so much information to manage for each order, Rawlings found it challenging to tie custom specifications and artwork back to the original order and effectively communicate this information to their vendors. Finding a solution that allowed document and file sharing with vendors across the globe while maintaining version control became business critical.

One of Rawlings’ Vice Presidents watched a DocuWare demonstration and was impressed to find a powerful and flexible document management Cloud solution. He asked his IT team to evaluate the product to see if their ERP data could be integrated with DocuWare to help them manage important information in one system.

Solution

Rawlings’ IT department approved DocuWare for their solution. Now that DocuWare Cloud is in place, Rawlings can easily share artwork, approvals and ordering information with their vendors. They invited their vendors as external collaborators into DocuWare Cloud and simply provided each one with a login and password.

Rawlings focused on using DocuWare for the piece of the process between order entry and artwork approval. For Rawlings, custom artwork and specifications are treated as raw materials because they are essential to create the custom goods.

Order information is pushed from Rawlings’ ERP system into DocuWare and used as an index term. The staff then uses DocuWare to create a sequential project number which is also used to index the order. Digitized art files, art approval forms, photos, notes and ordering information is all indexed and stored in DocuWare. A workflow between the sales rep and customer service department is in place to alert the customer service team if order approval has not occurred. Once the art has been approved and the order is finalized, the customer service rep will add the supplier number to the order, allowing the supplier to access the order and start production.  Each supplier simply logs into DocuWare and has immediate access to everything they need to customize an order.

Benefits

DocuWare helps improve the quality and accuracy of each customer order by giving vendors self-serve access to only the final artwork and relevant customer notes, eliminating confusion and potential delays. Rawlings’ purchasing department works with vendors to make sure they have enough raw materials for each order.  Due to short lead times for playoff games and materials constraints, Rawlings often splits one order between two suppliers.  Items need to be identical and with DocuWare in place, the company is able to give each supplier access to the information to make that happen.

A photo of each team’s finished uniform is added to DocuWare before shipping to the customer. If a customer calls with a question or complaint about a uniform, the customer service rep can quickly access an image of the uniform and have a better, faster conversation with the customer instead of reading art placement descriptions. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true for Rawlings.

“The information in DocuWare raises the quality of our customer interaction and allows us to respond faster,” said Sally Vandegrift Yeast, Vice President of Customer Experience & Analytics for Rawlings.

Rawlings does a lot of repeat business, so when a team orders a few more uniforms for their new players they absolutely must match the existing uniforms. It is essential that the correct information be readily accessible. With DocuWare in place, the vendors have immediate access to the artwork used for each order.

“The relationship with our vendors has improved because we now have a consistent and reliable way to communicate order information. We’ve found that better vendor relationships supports better customer service,” said Yeast.

Having great success after their initial use of DocuWare, Rawlings began to expand their use of in the solution in creative ways. For example, when a new customer calls to order a uniform, the customer service team can quickly do a search in DocuWare and pull up several examples of other orders with a similar logo. Being able to share art mock ups of different versions really helps new customers see what they want or don’t want when ordering their own uniform.

“It was hard to imagine all the benefits we gained by moving to DocuWare, until we implemented the solution. I can’t tell you how much help it so to be able to search for information in more than one way,” exclaimed Yeast.

Conclusion

DocuWare’s fulltext search feature is helping Rawlings’ sales force embrace the new solution. The sales team has quickly learned how easy it is to find an order — even searching a unique player name can help them find the order they need. DocuWare is now expanding to the engineering division and the company is working to store technical documents and product specifications in DocuWare.

“The ultimate impact of implementing DocuWare is that it has sped up our business and production processes and raised customer satisfaction. Uniforms, season and special games are time sensitive. You don’t get a second chance to deliver goods on time,” said Yeast.

 “The relationship with our vendors has improved because we now have a consistent and reliable way to communicate order information.  We’ve found that better vendor relationships support better customer service.”

 

Sally Vandegrift Yeast

Vice President, Customer Experience & Analytics

Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc.

Testing Positive for Better Service and Cash Flow

 

The Mercy Clinical Laboratory implemented DocuWare in order to better manage lab orders. The results are all positive. The Lab reduced the time-to-bill by one day increasing its billing capacity by $210,000 per day. These new efficiencies reduced the backlog of lab orders to bill by half and gave the staff the ability to answer questions about an order instantaneously. Digital information is now shared with other departments to improve patient care and the Lab’s bottom line.

Mercy Clinical Laboratory is part of Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893. Today Mercy has expanded to operate four nonprofit Catholic hospital campuses, with a total of 875 beds, along with more than 20 additional facilities that house more than 50 primary care, pediatric, internal medicine and specialty clinics. Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines is a member of Mercy Health Network and is a part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo.  The faith-based system operates in 18 states and includes 103 hospitals and multiple other facilities and services.

Mercy Clinical Laboratory provides services for 17 hospitals, as well as more than 300 other facilities, and processes samples from about 1,800 patients a day. With most patients having 3-5 lab tests done at once, the Lab processes more than 5,000 samples a day. The volume of tests the laboratory performs brings in a large piece of the hospital’s revenue, close to $30 million annually. Naturally, optimizing the Lab’s business processes was a high priority.

Requirements

The Lab needed to speed up the processing time from when a specimen is received to the time it is billed.  During the period the Lab was looking for a new system, it had $7-8 million in lab work waiting to be billed. The goal: automate processes and reduce the time-to-bill, make information easy to find and simplify the way it is shared with the patient access team, the medical coding team and the billing team. Initially the staff would staple documents together, hand write the account number and manually alphabetize the lab reports for each day. Once all the documents were in order, the staples were removed so the documents could be scanned. However, the resulting file was unsearchable and required the staff to page through the entire day’s record, often more than 5,000 pages long, to find what they needed. The paper documents were then re-stapled and sent to the billing department for further processing and filing.

Solution

After evaluating several options, the Lab decided to implement DocuWare. Today, specimens and lab orders are scanned in real time using barcoded labels to index the documents by accession number, a number unique to testing performed that day per patient. The Lab utilizes third-party software Kofax to scan, index and run a Quality Assurance check on the documents, before moving them into DocuWare for access and storage. DocuWare is seamlessly integrated with Cerner, Mercy’s electronic medical record and lab software. When an employee opens a patient record in Cerner, they simply click the integrated DocuWare button and all the documents such as lab records and test results pertaining to that patient are displayed.

“Our colleagues’ love the way they can find the information they need with the touch of one button, versus paging through a 5,000 page file,” said Mona Dinnauer, Outreach Lab Manager for Mercy.

The system for managing lab orders worked so well that it was expanded to manage future or standing lab orders which are initially indexed by medical record number, a number unique for each patient and later tied to the accession number.

“Having easy access to the original order improves the quality of the lab tests and eliminates confusion. We can now instantly answer a nurse or doctor’s questions, improving patient care. This is one of the biggest benefits of our new system,” said Dinnauer.

Benefits

Mercy chose to implement DocuWare Cloud because of its high functionality, around the clock support and scalable setup. Implementing DocuWare Cloud also allowed the Lab to easily share information with offsite coding staff using an internet connection and login credentials to access and share information with the staff in Des Moines.

“DocuWare Cloud was easy to implement and a breeze to get up and running. Part of the reason we choose the cloud system was because updates are automatic and software support is readily available,” said Dinnauer.

To ease the transition, the Lab operated with both the digital and paper systems simultaneously for a few weeks. However, the staff embraced the new system after only a few hands-on training sessions. Eliminating paper-based clerical duties freed the staff to answer more phone calls and provide better customer service to the hospitals, clinics, and other clients they serve.

The business impact of the DocuWare implementation is readily apparent in the Lab’s improved cash flow, which is a result of increasing its billing capacity by $210,000 per day and reducing its time-to-bill by one day.  These new efficiencies have allowed the Lab to cut its $7-8 million backlog in billable testing in half and to continue to reduce the accumulation. Digitizing information and making it easily available from anywhere has improved patient care and customer service.   

Not only was the Lab able to improve its billing processes, it also gained a centralized document storage system and eliminated the manual handling of documents, which decreased errors and improved HIPAA compliance. Today, lab records can be shared with Mercy’s IT system and ensure they are part of a patient’s chart. Mercy’s Revenue-Cycle team can also access the information and work to improve collection of patient service revenue and actively manage the patient account from creation to payment.

Conclusion

Dinnauer summed it up by saying, “We have improved our time-to-bill rates, our cash flow and our customer service. Implementing electronic document management was definitely the right choice for Mercy Clinical Laboratory, a service of Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines.”

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The Tasks

·         Reduce the time-to-bill

·         Improve lab order accessibility and easily share information

·         Eliminate inefficient, labor-intensive paper processes

·         Advance patient care to a higher level

The Benefits

·         Reduced the time-to-bill by one day

·         Easily share information with offsite colleagues and other departments

  • Maintenance free solution was easy to implement and support
  • New efficiencies increased billing capacity by $210,000 a day and cut backlog of time-to-bill in half

Applied Modules

  • AutoIndex
  • Smart Connect


Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines Laboratory

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

Application: Customer Service, Electronic Workflow, Order Processing, Patient Records

Document Types: lab orders, test results

Pull Quote

“DocuWare Cloud was easy to implement and a breeze to get up and running. Part of the reason we choose the cloud system was because updates are automatic and software support is readily available.”

 

Mona Dinnauer

Outreach Lab Manager

Mercy Medical Center Laboratory

 

Information for Digipub

ADP Number

 

Information for Website

Industry: Healthcare

Department: Medical Records

Application: Customer Service, Electronic Workflow, Order Processing, Patient Records

Add-on Module: AutoIndex, Smart Connect

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