California-based Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland recently selected GE Healthcare's Centricity Business Advantage outsourced revenue cycle management for its ambulatory services. But to Don Livsey, vice president and CIO at Children's Hospital, the real golden nugget in the deal is getting use of GE's IDX Flowcast system for outpatient scheduling and credentialing.
"We were very interested in having this real time online scheduling for the physician offices ...," says Livsey. "(We) wanted — when we get an urgent or complex case — to make sure that those referring physicians can get what they need quickly."
The hospital — a Level 1 pediatric trauma center with 181 beds and 166 hospital-based physicians in 31 specialties — had been making do by using its inpatient system from Westwood, Mass.-based Meditech on the outpatient side as well.
"So we were essentially running a very large outpatient subspecialty business of about 175,000 patient encounters a year on an inpatient system," Livsey says. "When you don't have optimal scheduling on the front end, you are not going to be set up to see as many patients as you can."
So, in 2005 Children's Hospital hit the market looking for a solution. After doing his homework, Livsey narrowed down the search to Los Gatos, Calif.-based SCI Solutions and Barrington, Ill.-based GE Healthcare.
The decision to go with GE Centricity Business Advantage — built on IDX Flowcast — came down to the vendor's pricing model, according to Livsey. (Meditech is still used on the inpatient side).
"Essentially what they said was that in order to get all this wonderful IDX Flowcast software — that quite honestly we couldn't afford it if we had to go out and do a capital purchase — you need to outsource your billing to us and we are going to take a percentage of that," he says. No big deal, Livsey notes, as the hospital had been outsourcing its ambulatory billing for a number of years.
Currently, Children's Hospital is building scheduling templates for its 166 physicians, while also training staff. Livsey says the organization plans to go live on the software by the end of the first quarter.