RISynergy® from an IT Perspective
VP of Information Technologies and CIO
Jared Lormand, VP of Information Technologies and Chief Information Officer for the 180 bed Opelousas General Hospital in Opelousas, LA has been involved with hospital information systems for more than 15 years. Over the years he has seen significant changes in how hospitals manage technology and in their relationships with software vendors.
“In IT, we are unusual for a hospital our size — we have a staff
of 14 IT professionals and support 60 software products and platforms, including databases and
interfaces, as well as customized programming, implementations, and development.”
As Lormand reflects on some of the changes he has seen in IT at Opelousas General Health System, “Once upon a time, all software companies included support as an integral part of their product and price. Then, when outsourcing development became popular, software companies promised support as a sort of ‘loss leader’ to get the de- velopment business. Unfortunately, many of the products promised were delivered late, or are still in the queue to be developed. Now, there is a move to hire programmers back to hospitals — and it’s a buyers market.
“Today, many of those companies that hospitals outsourced to have since unbundled their product support. They now sell their products ‘bare’, with support sold as a separate, distinct service. That has raised our costs of implementation, and, to add insult to injury, those companies typically do a poor job of delivering that support. The industry is now ‘high acquisition price’ and ‘high implementation cost.’ We estimate that our total cost of software implementation is three times the software purchase price.
“Because I am a member of both CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives) and HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society), of which I am the Louisiana Chapter Technology Chair, I have a very good feel for what’s going on in the Healthcare Technology field. I see that, as an industry, we’ve come to expect less from our vendors and to assume that we’ll have to do more implementation, on our own and in pieces.
“That’s one of the things about Swearingen Software that continues to surprise me,” comments Lormand, contrasting Swearingen to other software vendors. “They have an excellent support staff, they return phone calls, and provide assistance for upgrades and change orders. They come on-site to make upgrades. Basically, they do what they say they are going to do. And, in today’s IT world, that has become remarkable.
“In the 90’s we RFP’d for the ‘Best of Breed’ products, typically by specialty. But we found that those ‘Best of Breed’ companies typically didn’t offer the support we needed. Swearingen is the exception. I hold them to a very high standard, and they consistently meet or exceed it.”
As Lormand concludes, “We spend a considerable amount of money every year upgrading and improving our technology. I’ve had numerous opportunities to replace Swearingen’s RISynergy product – but I haven’t and I don’t plan to.”
Client Profile | Beds: 180 | Admissions: 6720 per year | Staff: 800 | Exams: 100,000 per year
Interfaces: McKesson inbound for orders, admissions, discharges, and patient demographics.
Add-Ons: E-Fax for physician reports , Mammography
Agnes Lewis, Clerical Supervisor
“My name is Agnes Lewis and I’m with Opelousas General Health System in Opelousas, LA. We are licensed for 175 beds. We do approximately 70,000 procedures a year. We’re interfaced with the McKesson AS400 Hospital system and McKesson PACs with Kodak CR. We use RISynergy as our RIS system and also as a Centralized Scheduling system, hospital wide.”
RISynergy Scheduling Module: “Once you setup the scheduling system, you can educate your physician’s offices by going through specific information that will be asked of them to provide. This will allow you to schedule a patient in RISynergy in less than 60 seconds. You will also have all the necessary information for other departments to reference. ”
RISynergy as a Centralized Scheduling Solution: “We’ve saved the hospital a tremendous amount of money by using RISynergy as a centralized scheduling software. We work closely with our insurance verifiers especially now, since most of your major insurance companies have to have precert either from the hospital or from the doctor’s office before anything can be done. If a doctor sends a patient to us to be done the same day, then we can get the exam scheduled, verified and completed within a 3 to 4 hour time span, which in turn saves the hospital money. It’s also an added convenience to the patient because they don’t have to make more than one trip to the hospital. ”
RISynergy Transcription Module: “With this system, I’ve seen that the transcriptionist turn-around times are great. Ours is less than 24 hours and it is very easy. It’s very user-friendly and the transcriptionists really like it. They’ve tried other systems, and it was RISynergy, hands down. They just refuse to type on anything else. And the radiologists like it and that’s what makes the system. Because if your radiologists and your transcriptionists are happy, then everyone else is happy. ”
Radiologist Electronic Sign-Off: “The radiologists really like the convenience of the electronic sign-off. They usually go in and edit their own transcription reports, but they really like it because it is so user-friendly. And they only have to do approximately three key-strokes to read, edit and electronically sign-off their reports. This saves time especially in an emergency situation when a result is needed ASAP. ”
RISynergy Support: “The level of support from a 1-10 is a 10. When you call, you get a person, not a recording. The IT people at Opelousas General really talk highly about the support system at Swearingen Software because they deal with hundreds of different vendors throughout the hospital and they don’t have the same rapport or the same call-back time with the other vendors as they do with Swearingen. Swearingen has a family atmosphere and a family rapport with their customers, and that’s something that you don’t see with your bigger companies. ”
Comparing RISynergy: “I’ve used this system for over 5 years and by using the RISynergy system it has allowed me to do my job more efficiently because it was the easiest system for me to learn and use. It has better management reports and better quality of reporting. Any type of report that you could get off of any high-dollar system, you can get off of RISynergy very easily. We use RISynergy for our centralized scheduling system on a day to day basis and they have proven to be a better and faster system.”