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3M: Delivering real value when hospitals need it

August 31, 2009
by root
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“When I sit down with hospital CFOs and CIOs these days, the recurring theme is value,” says Ray Terrill, senior vice president at 3M Health Information Systems. “My background includes the hospital environment, so I can appreciate that budgets are simply not what they used to be. Hospitals need to see ROI and cost savings from software products and proven results that can be sustained over time.”

With the current economic downturn, provider organizations are seeing a spike in their uncompensated care burden. New regulations - from Medicare RAC audits to the forthcoming ICD-10 transition - bring additional revenue pressure. Hospitals and health systems have gone back to basics, placing a premium on tools that can accelerate cash flow, enhance staff productivity, or otherwise help them cope with razor-thin margins.

3M expects hospital executives to ask the tough questions. The company has long delivered answers, working with nearly 4,000 hospitals to focus on improving fundamentals. Jameson Health System, based in New Castle, Pennsylvania, is just one case in point demonstrating 3M's ability to deliver. With a 3M document management system, Jameson saved $72,000 just on forms and paper-based supplies in the first year. Overall, the health system expects to save more than $1.6 million within five years.

3M helps hospitals move from paper to electronic records with products that capture, digitize, store, retrieve, and manage patient information in real time. The company's dictation and transcription solutions, for example, significantly reduce transcription costs and turnaround time while simultaneously improving physician productivity and document accuracy. When integrated with 3M's automated document distribution system, facilities can increase workflow efficiency and effectiveness across departments. These solutions also link to the 3M Coding and Reimbursement System, which includes computer-assisted coding software for inpatient and outpatient environments.

The findings in the 2008 Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Professional Services report ( suggest that 3M is indeed meeting the market need for real value in the current healthcare climate.

End users gave 3M ChartScript Software - an interactive transcription system used to create, edit, and distribute transcribed documents - the highest performance score in the Other Dictation and Transcription Solutions category.

Similarly, 3M ChartLocator ranked first in the Medical Records - Other category. 3M ChartLocator speeds chart retrieval and simplifies the chart-tracking process.

3M Codefinder Software was also a first-place finisher, named the top product in the Medical Records Coding category. 3M Codefinder uses expert logic to help coders evaluate and apply coding rules to individual patient records.

“The KLAS ratings are especially useful for comparing products,” says Terrill. “We're very proud of the scores we get on quality, service and functionality. We're also noticing a strong appreciation for our customer focus. I think you can really see that in the high percentage of clients responding ‘yes’ to the question of whether they would buy our product again.”

Taken as a whole, KLAS feedback says something about 3M Health Information Systems as a company. The KLAS report also compares Overall Rank of software vendors based on ratings in all 40 performance categories. This measure is reserved for vendors that have a minimum of three separate products fully rated in three separate software market segments. Among the 15 vendors who qualify, 3M took second place.

These are impressive numbers, but the power of 3M's customer focus is perhaps best explained by how the business operates. “The secret of our success is that we do some extraordinary things to help ensure that our clients get the results they anticipated,” says Terrill, “In some cases, we've even deployed our Six Sigma black belts to help clients make process changes and show them how they can both realize benefits from our products and demonstrate ROI within their organizations. We're never going to install the software and walk away.”

In the coming months and years, 3M Health Information Systems will continue investing in innovation. “We're doing some exciting things on the research and development side,” Terrill explains. “We're looking at technologies that can better integrate documentation and transcription processes with our coding solutions to identify potential problems earlier in the workflow. We think it's going to be another tremendous advance in the value our clients can achieve.”


3M Health Information Systems

575 West Murray Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84123, 1-800-367-2447,

Healthcare Informatics 2009 September;26(9):16