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Calling Doc. Brown!

Have you ever time traveled?

Recently, while visiting a customer, I was given a DB Technology marketing brochure that was clearly written more than 15 years ago. It was classic and in mint condition.

On the front cover a pencil drawing of storage boxes labeled UB-92, End of Day, Payroll and Bills. Boxes galore stored seven high with pieces of green-bar sticking out from under a few lids.

Amazing!

When I first heard the words “DB Technology” I was a manager of IT at a health system near my home town. There was nothing like it at the time. DB Technology, or dbtech as it is known today, was the first Electronic Document Management (EDM) system to serve the healthcare market. To give you a perspective, dbtech included HIPAA compliant security and privacy safeguards in Ras one year before HIPAA was enacted in 1996.

I wondered about how much has changed since then, so I dissected the brochure into its major benefits.

Paper savings

We still DO this!

In the 90’s hospital IT departments destroyed paper at the nuclear level. Boxes of printed text, distributed, read and discarded every day of the year. I was well aware that I was printing boxes of paper for users who only cared about the last few pages. We were making the paper vendors very happy! Ras replaced that process with electronic capture, identification, securing and distribution within minutes, as compared to hours or days. My department no longer served as the paper boy for the health system.

What has changed since those days is the origination and destination of the content. Dbtech has spent considerable efforts to provide tools that speak and listen to all IT platforms.

Today Ras customers capture and process over 100,000 pages of content each day, content which now includes pdf files, images, spreadsheets, MS Office files and interface transactions.

Customers now use eFolders to maintain master indexes of patients, vendors and employees and to securely share this new content with people, platforms and processes using various distribution methods.

Fun fact, since its inception Ras has saved enough paper to stretch to the moon and back. No kidding…

Forms

The 90’s were a time of MC1500’s, UB-92’s and patient detail bills. Data was identified and given the appropriate forms overlay. Forms could be automatically printed upon capture or viewed online.

Today, dbtech’s electronic forms platform has expanded our customer’s options. Triggered by system events, user input and programming interfaces, eForms is a fully expandable and self-maintained electronic forms library.

Forms now have input logic, barcodes, workflow, approvals and electronic patient signatures, but still not a flux capacitor.

Automations

Dbtech consistently improved automations throughout the years. At the beginning Ras was installed with document splitting, and our first foray into BI, Monarch and Data Extraction. Ras performed as needed, but needs expanded and technologies merged and changed.

To address these changes dbtech would soon include HL7 support, Notifications for Unscheduled Admissions, Faxing workflows, X12 835 Remittance and 837 Billing transactions, and improved methods for sharing your content with any platform using our universal application programming interface.
When we added the email automation it gave Ras a voice. Now it could speak to users and say “Your reports are ready!”, “your expenses need review” or “your patient just arrived”.

At the end of the day, (nod to Dave Wechsler), we have grown terrifically considering our size. We listened to the market, and most importantly our customers, and have adapted to the changing landscape of information delivery.

So what of the future?

I am not the only one who is predicting continued and increased change to the business of healthcare. We all know the tremendous challenges ahead with MU, ACO, ICD-10, mergers and acquisition and major EHR installations.

But I will make some predictions.

1. Patient portals will succeed only when monetary incentives for patients are included
2. ICD-10 will not be delayed again
3. Video capture technology will expand to capture surgical procedures
4. Hospitals will provide tablets to each inpatient to drive diagnosis specific content
5. A National Patient Identifier strategy will be announced

In the words of the unforgettable Doc Brown, “Go fourth time travelers, and remember the future is what you make it!”

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