What do you do when you’re told that your healthcare system is being switched from one chart-abstracted vendor to another? In short, you do a lot.
This is the situation BJC health care found themselves in this year as one of the 350+ clients that transitioned from the Vizient chart-abstracted software over to the Medisolv chart-abstracted ENCOR software.
Of course, change is always hard, but as a health system, change can mean a lot of disruption across multiple hospitals if not handled well. This episode presents an honest look at one organization’s transition from Vizient to Medisolv this year. The good, the bad and the yet to come.
For this interview, we talked with three employees from BJC health care and summarized their comments together. We also spoke with our Executive Vice President of Client Services, Ken McCormick, who oversees all of our client relations.
Mary Burton, RN, MSN, APRN(R), PhD
Carmina Jackson RN, BSN
Lisa Stringer, MPH, MSW
TO MEDISOLV: Can you give our readers a quick run-down of what went on with these Vizient clients?
Ken: Sure, this year Vizient and Medisolv partnered together to move all of Vizient’s current chart-abstracted clients to Medisolv’s ENCOR chart-abstracted solution. Once that agreement was signed, we started transitioning clients from the Vizient CM solution to over to Medisolv’s ENCOR solution starting in April of this year. We are currently still in that process of moving all 350+ hospitals to ENCOR.
BJC was actually one of our enthusiastic early adopters and decided to move over starting in July of this year.
TO BJC: Tell me your thoughts when you heard you were moving over to Medisolv.
BJC: When we found out we were moving to Medisolv we had mixed emotion. Number one, transition is painful. Doing it for 10 hospitals is even more so. And for us, there was also this sense of, “here we go again!” We had actually just switched all of our hospitals from another core measures vendor to Vizient two years ago and now we found out we had to do it all over again.
On the flip side, we were also hopeful. We were looking forward to moving to a new system that would have a better product.
TO BJC: What did the roll out process look like?
BJC: The lead up to the actual transition was a good start for us. Medisolv was great at helping us get everything cleared at the health-system level. There was a lot of paperwork we had to get through.
Then we began the actual transition process. We worked with Valerie Fahey at Medisolv, our assigned consultant. We met with her weekly to talk through the entire transition process.
Then we began the process of getting our hospitals transitioned over to Medisolv. That’s when we started hitting a few bumps in the road.
TO BJC: What were the major bumps you hit during the transition phase?
BJC: The first bump we ran into was related to sampling. This had to do with aligning the schedules between Vizient and Medisolv. We were sending our data to Vizient on a specific schedule. Medisolv has a different sampling schedule. So, it took a while for us to get everyone on the same page.
Ken: In hindsight, we could have communicated the data upload process and sampling methodology to BJC better. Thankfully we were able to apply what we learned with BJC to the next transitioning clients.
BJC: We also had an issue related to case “true up” in the beginning. For a while our abstractors would be getting three or four cases and then be dumped with 300 cases in one day. That caused some frustration for us and for our abstractors. We simply cannot afford to have any of our abstractors without work for a period of time or conversely inundated with cases that are weeks old.
TO BJC: Has that process smoothed out at this point?
BJC: Yes, thankfully it has. We did some switching between daily and weekly uploads. But now we are on the Medisolv schedule and getting the most up-to-date cases on a weekly basis. At this point it’s going smoothly.
TO BJC: How is the Medisolv software different from Vizient’s software?
BJC: We like the ENCOR chart-abstracted software. We think it’s good. But honestly software is software. What we value the most is the hand holding we get from Medisolv. Valerie and Ken are wonderful. They are very responsive.
Sure, there is some product functionality that we requested. Most notably, we requested the ability to manually change diagnosis codes in Medisolv when codes are revised in the billing system.
KEN: We have that on our road map to roll out over the next six months, but that is definitely something we have heard about from our other clients.
BJC: And look, one of the things we appreciated the most about Medisolv was their honesty and candor. When we would request these things, sometimes Medisolv would say “no it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon,” or “not yet, but we will have that rolled out in six months.” The last thing you want your vendor to do is make promises and not keep them. I always feel like I’m going to get an honest answer from Medisolv.
TO BJC: What advice would you give other organizations who are in the same boat as you?
BJC: As a health system you have to be a strong advocate for your organization. It’s not just thinking about how this will affect your individual hospital. You have to think about how this will affect all of your hospitals. And each hospital is completely different.
You have to be assertive with what your organization needs and make sure you are crystal clear about expectations with your vendor. Especially as it relates to sampling, data loads, and state requirements. You should consider how your abstractors work at each hospital. For instance, are they full-time abstractors? How often do they abstract cases? Those considerations will factor into how the software will work best for you.
You also have to invest in a partnership with your vendor. Be prepared to challenge or adapt, depending on the issue. The more organized and communicative you are with your vendor the better your working relationship will be.
We have taken this long-term relationship attitude with Medisolv. We are invested in partnering with them and are happy with the mutual response we have received. They are always so available and responsive.