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Remote hosting improves efficiency for community hospital

For more than a century, Geary County residents have made Geary Community Hospital, (Junction City, Kansas, U.S.A.), their healthcare provider of choice. A longtime user of Allscripts Paragon® EHR as its core clinical and financial solution, the organization upgraded to a newer version in 2017.

The move to a remote-hosted solution became more cost effective and secure than keeping the responsibility in house. I recently learned more about Geary Community Hospital’s transition from Director of Information Services Paula Penders.

What were some of the challenges the organization was facing in 2017?

Penders: At that time, we were on an older version of Paragon that was almost no longer supported, we had significant personnel changes in the IT department, and we were missing key knowledge points with Paragon. That’s when we started talking to McKesson, now Allscripts, to better support the application for the end users.

What were the benefits of upgrading to a newer version of Paragon and moving to a remote-hosted solution?

Penders: If we had not gone to remote hosting, we would have had to spend around $300,000 to replace out-of-date hardware. We knew we had additional help on the remote hosting team for testing and getting processes in place before we rolled it out.

How does Geary Community Hospital rely on Allscripts Services teams to help with upgrades, including supplemental patches?

Penders: We would never have been able to keep up with patches without Allscripts doing the work and probably would have passed them up. We would have had more issues with security because of our inability to keep up with the server OS patches.

How does Allscripts managing Geary Community Hospital’s help desk help the IT team better triage user issues and prioritize them?

Penders: Before, we only had one or two people on our help desk. If they were busy addressing the first calls that came in that day, they might not get be able to quickly get to later calls– even if they are more critical issues – because they wouldn’t have known about them. Our IT team can produce more timely, prioritized responses with the same number of full-time employees. In fact, the IT team has been reduced from seven to five full-time equivalents (FTEs).

How has moving to a remote-hosted solution been a catalyst for several optimization projects at Geary Community Hospital?

Penders: We’ve gone to a tool that helps us get lab results from within Paragon. Now staff can have them available in charts before the patient comes in. The solution also streamlined the organization’s coding and billing processes. We are able to get the clinic bills out very quickly. Our next project will be to combine charges from the hospital and clinics into one bill.

Did Geary Community Hospital face any challenges with the conversion?

Penders: The Allscripts remote hosting team has gone above and beyond getting us comfortable with remote hosting, but bringing the clinics onto Paragon was a huge undertaking. We didn’t realize the number of manual and paper processes the clinics were still using.

How did the IT team understand what was required in the new ambulatory and practice management solution?

Penders: Training classes helped various departments – including scheduling and financial teams. Geary Community Hospital will continue to move its ambulatory clinics from paper to electronic processes. We’ll start with physician order entry and move towards documentation.

What is next for Geary Community Hospital?

Penders: Paragon works well for the community hospital, because it gives us every functionality we need. It is the solution that works best for us. We are preparing to launch FollowMyHealth® as its patient engagement platform. We’re really excited to use FollowMyHealth, once we get to a place when we can drive enrollment through our clinics.

Today, Geary Community Hospital maintains its commitment to delivering outstanding care to patients while providing an enjoyable work environment for 400-plus employees. To learn more about Geary Community Hospital remote hosting and services success, download this case study. 

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