Patient transfer software helps Rush improve transitions, increase revenue

At Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) in the Chicago area, a transfer record system documents every aspect of incoming patient transfers and provides data that helps the organization increase revenue and push for quality improvements, according to an article at HealthITAnalytics.

Transfers start with a phone call and can take several hours or even a few days. The process can cross multiple shifts and provides many opportunities for miscommunication, the article states.

The Transfer Center's software is connected to Rush University Medical Center's electronic health record system with a one-way interface that allows transfer staff to quickly and easily pull basic registration and demographic data from the EHR. The transfer software captures all the notes taken during a shift, who wrote them and who they spoke to. Every update is recorded with a time stamp.

The system is popular with the medical center's legal team, because it documents everything from the incoming patient's weight to the contact at the ambulance company, according to the article.

The collected data on the patient transfer process also allows RUMC to examine potential inefficiencies and look for ways to improve its processes. And it has helped the center demonstrate to management the need for more staff to handle transfers.

"We were approved for two additional full-time employees before the usual budget cycle because we looked at our patient volume data ... and compared that with what we lose when we decline a case and we don't have that availability or we can't get to that call fast enough and we lose it to another facility," Jane Krivickas, manager of patient placement at the Rush Transfer Center, said in the article.

A survey from the Ponemon Institute found that inefficient communication in transferring a patient to another facility cost each hospital about $754,000 and the industry $4.83 billion a year. In addition, studies show that 80 percent of serious medical errors stem from miscommunication, particularly during shift changes.

To learn more:
- read the article