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Geary Community Hospital

Remote hosting and help desk improve efficiency, reduce costs

Geary Community Hospital serves central Kansas, including people from Kansas State University, Fort Riley military base and surrounding communities. A longtime user of Paragon as its core clinical and financial solution, Geary Community Hospital’s IT team supports about 300 users.

Director of Information Services Paula Penders recalls some of the challenges the organization was facing in 2017. “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,” she said. “That’s when we started talking to McKesson, now Allscripts, to better support the application for the end users.”

Relying on a trusted partner for remote hosting and services

When Geary Community Hospital upgraded to a newer version of Paragon in 2017, it also moved to a remote-hosted solution. The hosted solution is more cost effective and secure than it would have been to keep the responsibility in house.

If we had not gone to remote hosting, we would have had to spend around $300,000 to replace out-of-date hardware,” Penders said.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

Geary Community Hospital relies on Allscripts Services teams to help with upgrades, including supplemental patches. “We would never have been able to keep up with patches without Allscripts doing the work and probably would have passed them up,” Penders said. “We would have had more issues with security because of our inability to keep up with the server OS patches.”

As of April 2018, Allscripts also manages Geary Community Hospital’s help desk. This service helps the IT team better triage user issues and prioritize them. “Before, we only had one or two people on our help desk,” Penders said. “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.”

Having Allscripts manage the help desk has enabled a more timely, prioritized response from the IT team, without adding any additional full-time employees. In fact, through attrition, the IT team has been reduced from seven to five full-time equivalents (FTEs).

Optimizing workflows

Moving to a remote-hosted solution was the catalyst for several optimization projects at Geary Community Hospital. For example, clinicians were often faxing lab results to one another within the hospital. “We’ve gone to a tool that helps us get lab results from within Paragon,” Penders said. “Now staff can have them available in charts before the patient comes in.”

Penders also shared that the organization has streamlined the coding and billing processes. The same group that does the hospital coding now does it for the clinics, too. “We are able to get the clinic bills out very quickly,” she said. “Our next project will be to combine charges from the hospital and clinics into one bill.”

Bringing ambulatory clinics onto Paragon

Geary Community Hospital is also home to 10 ambulatory clinics, and they had been using a Greenway solution. Because most of the ambulatory clinic providers also see patients when they’re in the hospital, many users were familiar with Paragon and easily converted. “The Allscripts remote hosting team has gone above and beyond getting us comfortable with remote hosting,” Penders said.

However, Penders explained that the conversion had its own set of challenges. “Bringing the clinics onto Paragon was a huge undertaking,” she said. “We didn’t realize the number of manual and paper processes the clinics were still using.”

Training classes helped various departments – including scheduling and financial teams – to understand what was required in the new ambulatory and practice management solution. 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,” Penders said.

The organization is also 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,” Penders said.

”Paragon works well for the community hospital, because it gives us every functionality we need. It is the solution that works best for us.”.”

Key Outcomes

  • Saved money. A hosted solution saved $300,000 in hardware upgrade costs, and reduced the IT team from 7 to 5 FTEs through attrition
  • Optimized workflows. The team has made it more efficient to access lab results and streamline coding in billing
  • More efficient help desk. Outsourcing this function enables more timely, prioritized responses to requests from more than 300 users

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