Sharp HealthCare sets the pace for growth

Enterprise use of OnBase keeps hospital on the leading edge of healthcare IT

As a staple on Hospitals & Health Networks magazine’s “Most Wired” healthcare systems list, Sharp HealthCare (Sharp) has a long history of innovation. While it didn’t have an enterprise-wide strategy in place when it first implemented OnBase by Hyland, once the San Diego, California health system realized its value, the solution quickly became – and continues to be – a true enterprise-level core technology for the not-for-profit integrated healthcare delivery system.

Within six months of the initial implementation in its claims department, Sharp experienced so many benefits, it wanted to expand the solution across its entire organization, integrating ECM with its electronic medical record (EMR) as well as its other core applications.

Working ahead of its deployment of Cerner Millennium®, Sharp uploaded all of the hospital’s unstructured content – everything from faxed orders and progress notes to the paper charts – into OnBase, where it could be immediately accessed from within the EMR as soon as the systems were integrated.

“The HIM department became huge champions for OnBase,” said Cathy Fuhrman, formerly Sharp’s manager of Document Imaging, adding that the strategy bolstered user adoption of its system of record.

>> View, download and share a more detailed PDF-version of this case study. <<

Sharp grew its solution on department at a time, uploading content to OnBase, but also utilizing the native business process management tools in OnBase to automate manual tasks and create workflows. Sharp even worked with Hyland to build new business applications as opportunities arose.  

Streamline operations across the entire organization

Eliminating paper is only a small part of the improvements Sharp’s experienced with OnBase. The solution also:

  • Completes the patient picture: With OnBase, all of the unstructured data – consent forms, patient IDs, written progress notes and more – may be accessed directly from within the EMR, giving clinicians and staff the ability to access the patient information they need, when they need it.
  • Provides disaster recovery: In 2003, the San Diego wildfires nearly reached Sharp’s data storage vendor’s facilities. The following year, Sharp developed a disaster recovery plan utilizing its ECM solution for data protection. “We understood the value of OnBase,” Fuhrman said.
  • Streamlines processes: Pre-anesthesia evaluations and surgery and radiology scheduling are now processed through OnBase. “Paperless workflows have eliminated thousands and thousands of pages of paper that used to float around,” Fuhrman said.
  • Expedites pharmacy orders: Before Sharp implemented Cerner Millennium, runners were sent to all the hospitals’ floors to retrieve medication orders for the pharmacy department and nurses would fax the orders to the pharmacy department. Now the information routes via a fax server/OnBase and is linked to Cerner.
  • Supports paperless patient registration: Sharp partnered with Hyland to customize an existing module for patient registration. Now when patients arrive, the admitting clerk scans their driver’s licenses and insurance cards. Patients sign off on an interactive tablet, which displays their conditions of admission in either English or Spanish. Sharp Memorial also offers a concierge service that enables patients who are scheduled for surgery to bypass the registration desk and be admitted directly to their rooms. Admitting clerks come to the room and input information to OnBase using mobile devices.
  • Improves accuracy: OBGYNs with high-risk pregnancy patients know that the hospital has the most up-to-date information should the patient present in the middle of the night. With OnBase, accuracy and patient care has improved and physician satisfaction increased, as well.
  • Eliminates paper in claims: In its initial implementation, OnBase eliminated the need to maintain and store the approximately 100,000 paper claims that are processed on a monthly basis in Sharp’s managed care claims department, reducing three shifts of full-time employees to one. Six months after the solution went live in 2003, the department estimated a savings of approximately $70,000 a month.
  • Increases information access in finance: Sharp’s finance department uses OnBase to electronically capture all of its paperwork, Fuhrman said. The accounts payable department scans invoices and links the information to Sharp’s business application, which allows authorized users to review and approve the invoices quickly so the organization takes advantage of payment discounts and avoids late penalties.
  • Reduces the use of nursing and chart stations: At Sharp Memorial, clinicians walk the floors with “thin charts” comprising only a few days’ worth of paper – relying instead on the OnBase integration with Cerner for patient information, Fuhrman explained.
  • Ensures compliance: Sharp’s HR department relies on OnBase to securely store confidential employee information and its ability to restrict access to authorized users to support compliance with The Joint Commission. And, OnBase provides audit trails that make complying with HIPAA and other initiatives much simpler.
  • Facilitates best practices: “Using OnBase, we’ve been able to standardize procedures across hospitals,” said Fuhrman. Sharp won the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, as well as the gold level award by the California Council for Excellence for the California Award for Performance Excellence program. In 2009, the Greystone Group honored Sharp with the Best in Class Awards and InformationWeek selected Sharp HealthCare as one of the nation’s 250 leading users of business technology.