Scanning and Imaging Improve Patient Care
Timely Access to Patient Files Enhances Records Management
- CLIENT: Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
- BUSINESS: Voluntary/Not-for-Profit Teaching Hospital
- CHALLENGE: To Enhance Patient Care by Improving Access to Patient Records
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, a 350-bed teaching
hospital located in an ethnically diverse New York City
neighborhood, has been providing medical care to the
community since 1889. The hospital sees more than
75,000 Emergency Department (ED) visitors annually
and has a staff of almost 2,000 doctors, nurses and
The hospital sought to implement a full-service records
management solution, including scanning and image
hosting, in order to reduce retrieval time for Emergency
Department records, increase patient throughput,
improve staff satisfaction and control access to patient
information. Wyckoff turned to Iron Mountain for its
simple, proven solutions: Iron Mountain’s Document
Conversion Service for their backfile and day-forward
document scanning needs and the Digital Record
Center™ for Images to securely host the scanned images.
THE CHALLENGE: A Constant Stream of Patients and Limited On-site File Room Space
Patient care comes first at Wyckoff Heights Medical
Center; and with a steady flow of patients and limited
on-site file room space, secure storage and timely access
to patient records was difficult. Before implementing
Iron Mountain’s solutions, manual records management
processes and lengthy retrieval times often delayed
patient care in the ED.
Additionally, records retrieval took a disproportionate
amount of the hospital staff’s time. Following standard
practice for ED records, patient files were organized in
alphabetical order by date of visit – which meant that
there were no automated search features in place if a
patient couldn’t remember the date of his or her last visit.
If a record wasn’t found immediately, the request was
passed to management for resolution, adding to labor
costs. This arduous records retrieval process lowered staff
morale and increased the wait time for ED patients.
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center knew decreasing the
complexity and cost around the record retrieval process
would improve processes for both patients and care
providers. After evaluating a number of strategic options
with guidance from Judy DelPozzo, an experienced
healthcare consultant and interim Director of Health
Information Management, they decided to scan and
store their ED records using Iron Mountain’s Document
Conversion Service and Digital Record Center.
"Iron Mountain is a sure bet for
quality improvement. Not only
is it easier to access scanned
patient records stored with Iron
Mountain, but we’ve dramatically
reduced patient wait time in the
– Cliff Miller, vice president of the Emergency Services
Department, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
THE SOLUTION: An Overhaul of Emergency Department Files with Iron Mountain’s Document Conversion Service and
the Digital Record Center for Images
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center selected a no-hassle
document scanning and medical image storage program
that did not require a large capital investment. Wyckoff chose Iron Mountain for of its stellar industry reputation
for records management, and its expertise in bringing
cost-effective, custom solutions to its healthcare
"Wyckoff needed an expert with a full-service solution,
and the team supported Iron Mountain completely
because we knew they would help us achieve our goal of
delivering better patient care at a lower cost," said
DelPozzo. "In all my years of experience, I've never been
disappointed by Iron Mountain. They truly are a visionary
in terms of the future of medical records management."
With Iron Mountain's Document Conversion Service, the
hospital immediately began scanning nine months of
historical ED records. After Wyckoff overhauled their
paper charts, Iron Mountain’s experienced team began
scanning and uploading the records to the Digital Record
The Digital Record Center for Images is a hosted service
that provides Wyckoff with 24/7 access to its ED records.
Staff members can easily access records electronically,
rather than pulling the physical patient files, and the
quality of the scanned records is on par with the physical
record. Training the staff on the new system took less
than a day.
THE RESULTS: Timely Access to Records Improves Patient Care While Lowering Costs
"Iron Mountain is a sure bet for quality improvement,"
said Cliff Miller, vice president of the Emergency Services
Department, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. "Not only
is it easier to access scanned patient records stored with
Iron Mountain, but we've dramatically reduced patient
wait time, which means they are in and out faster and
we’re improving the productivity of our staff.
Wyckoff Heights Medical Center revolutionized its ED
files with Iron Mountain’s proven solutions for records
management. The system has reduced records retrieval
time, improved the security of the records and increased
staff satisfaction, all leading to the hospital’s ultimate
goal of better patient care.
Faster Retrieval Time. Rather than manually pulling
patient charts, a process which could take hours,
Wyckoff’s staff can now locate the electronic patient
records in seconds. Patient records can be rapidly
retrieved for continuity of care, litigation requests, billing
and audit purposes. According to Miller, complaints
about record retrieval time have dramatically decreased
among both care providers and patients.
Improved Space Utilization. Areas that previously
housed ED records have now been converted to other
uses and the limited on-site file room space is being
used more efficiently.
Enhanced Security. Login and password controls allow
Wyckoff to limit patient record access to key users. In
addition, the Digital Record Center allows users to retrieve
and print only the image necessary for treatment, rather
than multiple pages of records and release forms.
Faster Billing. Turnaround time for billing and reimbursement
is faster now that patient files are available
electronically. And because charts are not outstanding,
collection rates have also improved.
Increased Employee Satisfaction. Hospital employees
can now dedicate more time to patient care, rather than
hunting for records. Records Management personnel
also have more opportunities to learn new skills, thus
improving cross training and career planning.
"The results are so incredible that several departments
across the hospital want to implement a digital records
system," said DelPozzo. "Efficient records management is
a challenge all hospitals face, and I would immediately
recommend Iron Mountain because they offer a simple
solution delivered by experienced professionals."
Iron Mountain operates in major markets worldwide, serving thousands of customers
throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.
For more information, visit our Web site at www.ironmountain.com