Metro Gets A HighTech Administrative Pacemaker


    GRAND RAPIDS — Metropolitan Hospital’s expansion plans call for a move to a new location, but the institution already is moving on something else that is supposed to bring about a big reduction … in paperwork.

    “We are using e-work to move from a paper-based organization to a fully automated health care enterprise,” said Bill Lewkowski, chief information officer of Metropolitan.

    “The aim is to ensure that our hospital processes, both between departments and with outside health-care interests, can be acted on electronically to save time, increase efficiency and to improve the care we offer.”

    E-work is a software system Metro has purchased from Metastorm Inc., of Severna Park, Md.

    According to Lewkowski’s announcement, Metropolitan has purchased e-work to streamline internal systems and improve interactions between patients and medical services.

    The 238-bed, acute care hospital reports that it initially is deploying e-work to assist in the modeling and redesign of existing processes.

    The first stage of work will involve core processes in the hospital’s IT department, including accounts administration for the hundreds of systems and applications used across the organization.

    Engineers will then develop new processes to replace and make improvements to paper-based systems in such areas as human resources, finance, patient record management and tracking clinical data.

    Throughout the health care industry — and particularly in hospitals — managing patient records and clinical data and finance has become an intertwined world-class briar patch.

    What makes the thicket so complex are constantly changing and sometimes conflicting multi-jurisdictional state and federal regulations and the interactions of finance sources: Medicare, Medicaid, workers’ compensation, third-party administrators and a multitude of private health insurers.

    Supposedly all of this will begin to simplify next year with the onset of standardization required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. But at this point, even the act’s sponsors believe they created something that will become a nightmare.

    It is in that context, at any rate, that Metro will use e-work as a strategic development platform, to automate custom communication and management systems between people, processes and technical applications.

    The hospital selected Metastorm’s e-work for its reputed strength in the rapid design and rollout of new business process management applications and for its integration with the Novell environment and existing hospital technology.

    Though headquartered in Maryland, Metastorm also operates in Europe and Canada, and has established more than 100 partnerships, also including Compaq, Microsoft and Oracle.

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