i -Sight HC Complaints Database Meets Federal Guidelines while Driving Timely Resolutions at Rush University Medical Center

July 03, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Ottawa, Canada – July 3, 2007 - Customer Expressions announced today that Rush University Medical Center has implemented the i-Sight HC database to help manage patient complaints and to ensure compliance with Federal guidelines.

Rush earned national rankings in 11 specialty areas, as reported in U.S. News & World Report’s 2006 “America’s Best Hospitals” issue. The Medical Center encompasses a 613-bed hospital serving adults and children, the 61-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University.

The Challenge
In 2006, the department’s manager found herself bogged down by duplicate entry of patient issues, taking time away from actual patient relations activities. She entered each issue in three different places: a log, an Excel file and an Access database.

“I was a one-man circus responsible for inpatient, outpatient and private practice issues,” said Jeanne Blundy, Manager of Patient Relations. “With a 613-bed hospital, it’s overwhelming. It took a long time to set up each file, so we couldn’t get issues logged fast enough.”

After she entered complaints, she would pass them on to the relevant departments to be addressed.

Meanwhile, those involved were under pressure to address grievances per HIPAA requirements – seven days to reply to the patient or to send the patient a letter indicating it will be resolved in 30 days.

The Solution
After evaluating several solutions for managing complaints, Patient Relations chose i-Sight Service and Complaints from Customer Expressions. The application offered the automation and ease of use the team desired, and fit its budget.

At the time, the Medical Center was also involved in a hospital-wide IT deployment that required considerable IT resources. As a Web-based solution, i-Sight would not tax busy IT staff for implementation or maintenance.

“IT resources are scare, and i-Sight had the nice feature of being an ASP model that was secure. It wouldn’t tie up IT time like a lot of other products,” said Francis Fullam, Senior Director, Marketing Research, Strategic Planning, Marketing and Program Development.

Automation, Alerts Keep Every Issue on Schedule
Patient Relations now relies on i-Sight as the single point for entering and tracking every patient complaint. Blundy inputs the information once, instead of three times. Also, she can store supplemental documentation or the original letter, email, fax or survey that included the patient’s comments.

Once complaints enter the system, customized workflow rules in i-Sight ensure they follow a specific process. Alerts automatically let team members know when an issue is nearing resolution deadlines, and i-Sight escalates any that go unaddressed to a manger.

“i-Sight just leads me down the path and I don’t have to think about it,” Blundy said. “You can get a quick overview of current issues and you can’t close it out until every question is answered, which is a big help.”

Grievances that fall under HIPAA guidelines are tagged as higher priority to ensure they are turned around in the required timeframe. “With more specific federal guidelines about time to resolve patient complaints, I can’t imagine how we would do this without a program like i-Sight, without a program that tracks time,” Fullam said. “It’s been very beneficial in helping the complicated process of tracking.”

“Multiple people are accessing the real-time system,” Blundy said. “They know the time limit and respond very quickly when things pop up.”

The Results
Already, the team has seen enhanced efficiency in processing complaints. “i-Sight cuts down on lots of phone calls and missed calls,” Blundy said. “We’re not wasting our time trying to get a hold of people in departments because i-Sight keeps them aware of issues and on task. We don’t need one-on-one communication unless there’s something specific to discuss.”

The ease of entering complaints means that every one – even minor – is tracked in i-Sight – giving Patient Relations a more complete picture of all issues. As the team begins using i-Sight’s detailed reporting capabilities, it can evaluate data such as the number of issues each quarter; complaints by departments and levels; and the top issues.

About Customer Expressions
Based in Ottawa, Canada, Customer Expressions (www.customerexpressions.com) is a leading provider of web-based case management solutions. Customer Expressions has gained an international reputation for best-in-class software to optimize the management of patient relations. The privately held firm provides i-Sight, integrated case management software for complaint handling, risk management, corrective and preventive action management (CAPA Management), compliance monitoring, and other business processes that require case management.

For further information, please contact:
Joe Gerard, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing
800-465-6089 or media@customerexpressions.com