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A behind-the-scenes look at being a development partner

Author’s note: This piece was co-authored by the team at Springhill Medical Center, including significant contributions from Sharon Barnicle, Executive Director Patient Accounts, HIM and Case Management; Melanie Sigler, Director of Decision Support; and Elizabeth Kelly, Assistant Director of Collections.

When it comes to health IT, CEO Jeff St. Clair at Springhill Medical Center (Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A.) sees the big picture. He understands the value of having an integrated clinical and financial platform. Springhill has partnered with Allscripts and used the Sunrise™ platform since 2004, but the financial solution had been on a separate database interfaced with our clinical systems. He knew that to be ready for the future, we’d need to combine them onto a single platform.

From “vaporware” to viable solution

About four or five years ago, Springhill had seen demos of a very early version of Sunrise™ Financial Manager, but it earned the nickname “vaporware” because of the amount of development work needed to bring this solution to fruition.

For the last three years, Allscripts and Springhill have worked closely on developing Sunrise Financial Manager. Developers have been working onsite with Springhill teams on the features and functionality that eventually contributed to the 17.3 release, which Springhill implemented in May 2018.

With the new release, new dynamic work queues enable billers to move items on and off task lists very quickly. The latest version has improved optimization of stored procedures and SQL queries. Performance is just beginning to turn the corner; for example, the average clean claims rate has improved about 18 percentage points since launching 17.3.

It’s been a long road for end users

While we’re just beginning to see the fruits of our labor, it has been a long road. Our billing and registration teams had to change from their familiar financial systems and processes to a work in progress that would become today’s Sunrise™ Financial Manager. It’s an inevitable process, because upgrades are required to remain competitive and to succeed in a rapidly changing industry.

Being a development partner meant we could have input and help shape the capabilities of this solution, but it also meant a significant amount of disruption in our teams’ day-to-day work. One of our greatest lessons learned is that we should have set expectations that a task this large would result in temporary backwards movement.

It’s been a learning experience, but now our teams are beginning to see the benefits. We’re getting claims out the door and expect to see our speed increase. We’re also looking ahead to the next release of Sunrise Financial Manager, an upgrade that will further enhance the functionality of the system we’ve helped develop.

Today, as interest in Sunrise Financial Manager grows, Springhill meets with other Allscripts clients to demonstrate the solution and walk them through their experience. By sharing its vast knowledge of the solutions, Springhill is helping other organizations understand what it will take to succeed with the transition.

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