Enhancing Hospital Health Information Management Using Industrial Engineering Tools

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Mohammad Khasawneh
Assistant Professor
State University of New York, Binghamton

This presentation describes the application of various Industrial Engineering tools in improving the operations of a hospital health information management department, which is in the process of implementing "Document Imaging" technology.

Hospital health information management (HIM) involves medical records coding, processing, analyzing, archival, and retrieval. The exponential increase in healthcare spending, the need for quicker medical expense reimbursement, and the elevated security requirement for medical records sharing have added to the complexity and challenges of HIM. Moreover, the objective for HIM has always been to achieve better resource utilization, reduce the medical records processing time, meet regulatory requirements, and incorporate technology to streamline processes.

This study focuses on applying various industrial engineering tools to improve the operations in the HIM department of a regional healthcare provider in upper state New York. This healthcare provider is in the process of implementing a "Document Imaging" initiative. Therefore, comprehensive time studies, workflow analysis, and value stream mapping were used to assess the current system operations. Then, various performance metrics were developed to serve as baseline for quantifying improvements resulting from the introduction of "Document Imaging" technology. To delineate the future state, illustrate the impact of "Document Imaging" on workflow changes, and provide scientific suggestions in the decision making process, a discrete-event simulation model was developed to predict the future state. After model verification and validation, the simulation results were used for specific operational suggestions, such as the determination of optimum batch size for patient chart arrivals, workflow modification, personnel scheduling, etc. Alternate scenarios for managing HIM work queues were also evaluated to provide decision makers with critical insight into their processes to enable change, improve quality of work, and mitigate potential operational risks.