Is Custom Reporting Difficult?

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Completing a customized report using RIS data-mining software (or some other system) is simply a matter of learning a little technology. For Stefanie Dendy, director of radiology at King’s Daughters Hospital in Yazoo City, Miss, it can be as easy as changing the start-date and end-date fields for the information that you want to correlate.

Dendy is talking about customizing templates or automatic reports done by the RIS by changing the dates to bracket a particular segment of data. She can do the same thing by changing fields for facilities or modalities, which is mostly enough for her purposes, she says. What she wants next is for her hospital to activate a billing function already present in the RIS. This would let her study the financial bottom line for each modality, she says, but King’s Daughters, for now, is sticking with its old hospital-wide billing system. “We had an interface problem because we use a hospital code instead of a CPT® code,” Dendy says.

At Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, NY, Pamela Moseley, RIS/PACS director, says that she had to learn a reporting-software application, as well as the reporting features of her RIS, in order to create custom reports. Other than that, she says, it’s been a matter of perseverance.

“Cycle time per shift and per modality—that takes me a long time,” she says. “The clock is in military time, and you have to create two reports and add them together” to cover a shift that the clock divides at midnight. Sometimes, she adds, she will be asked for reports by modality by room, and she is asked to determine “the number of exams ordered per hour, per month, and per shift, based on patient type—emergency, inpatient, or outpatient.”

At Strategic Administrative and Reimbursement Services in Grand Rapids, Mich, CFO Bill Ziemke and his team of financial analysts have been able to use their data warehouse and business-intelligence reporting software to provide useful information for making business decisions.

At Infinity Management in Nashville, Tenn, CEO J. Keith Radecic says that creating a custom report is generally a point-and-click affair. “I choose the data, and I have manual control over building that report,” he says. “Today, a client wanted a report built for a specific payor and all claims outstanding for that payor for all of 2007: the charge, the amount paid, and the current balance. I ran that report and created it in about 35 minutes. You have to run on the fly so that everything is used in a timely fashion.”

Radecic says that the benefits of reporting systems are undeniable. “Why not invest in a better reporting tool?” he asks. “For medium-sized to larger groups, the benefits far outweigh the costs. The excuse that we can’t get to the data should not be acceptable.”