Capital Cardiology Associates
Capital Cardiology Associates, PC (CCA) has more than 25 board-certified physicians in seven locations throughout upstate New York and western Massachusetts. CCA provides a range of diagnostic, interventional, and preventative services in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases— and they do so with a caring, well-qualified staff and a comfortable, supportive atmosphere.
In 2012, CCA found that their paper-based processes were beginning to incur unnecessary costs and inhibit their outstanding patient services. Time, overwhelming storage space requirements, and the potential liability of misplaced documents were only some of the notable factors leaving CCA’s administration dismayed with their existing document management system.
As CCA’s accounting controller, Denise Johnson and her team handle everything from financial statements to accounts payable. As the manager of the accounting department, she knew too well the level of moving documents that not only float from desk to desk, but often from Albany to Oneonta, or even out of state.
Johnson’s intimate understanding of the flow of documents across the breadth of CCA’s practice made her the ideal lead in their search for a sophisticated, user-friendly document management system.
The Impetus to Engage ECM
Prior to choosing new software, CCA was “totally paper-driven,” Johnson said, which slowed down nearly every aspect of the daily workflow processes. “We had been trying to condense our non-clinical spaces throughout the company but also our paper storage. Every year we’d send the entire year’s worth of paperwork off to storage because that’s what you have: tons of paper boxed up and that tends to get expensive.” This system proved not only expensive, but also terribly outdated in a field that is consistently at the cutting edge of integrating new technology to boost efficiency and patient health.
However, staying apace with technology wasn’t the only reason for choosing Epicor ECM (formerly named DocStar ECM) explained Johnson, “Our billing department had started to send some of their employees to work from home and that got us thinking about the barriers that were preventing our team from working efficiently from home. Even though the accounting department was small, Johnson saw that the ability to access the software remotely would have exponentially positive results.
“For personal reasons, some of our employees needed to work from home and it was very hard trekking that paper back and forth from the office,” noted Johnson. The Epicor solution offered her department the flexibility and accessibility needed to leverage telecommuting opportunities for staff, as well as a far more intelligent platform for moving and managing documents.
Along with this flexibility, CCA chose Epicor ECM because it could integrate so seamlessly with their accounting software, Sage MAS 90. Previously, there was a tremendous hassle in having to go back and forth between different software: “We didn’t want to have that extra step of having to go into another software to search for an invoice.” With the Epicor solution, Johnson and her team were able to simply press the retrieve button right from within Sage MAS 90 and the invoice was immediately in front of them.
Together, the simplistic flexibility and the seamless integration pushed CCA directly to the Epicor solution. Johnson relays that competitor alternatives simply did not provide the solutions they were looking for, leaving Epicor ECM as the obvious answer.
Switching from a hard copy—or paper-dominated—system to integrated electronic document management software proved to be relatively painless for Johnson and her department at CCA.
Despite initial trepidations about Epicor ECM’s capabilities, Johnson relays how supportive and positive the Epicor team was: “There were a couple of things we said ‘we’re not sure how DocStar [now Epicor] ECM is going to be able to do this,’ but the DocStar [now Epicor] Professional Services team was able to assure us that they could absolutely take care of it and that we didn’t need to worry about it. They sat down with us during the implementation process to let us know that no matter what we could throw at them, the DocStar [now Epicor] team would come up with a solution.”
Though there were a few minor setbacks, Johnson raved about the implementation of the Epicor software and, even more notably, the Epicor team. “I think one of the nice things that we found,” she noted with real joy, “was that DocStar [now Epicor] was also using Sage MAS 90 for their accounting software, so they were able to bring us over to their office and show us how they were able to integrate it into their situation. They set up a little test scenario and showed us how the invoice comes in, showing us the whole process right there on their software.”
This personal connection and individualized attention were present from the start of the relationship, leaving Johnson and the rest of CCA’s team unarguably impressed.
Attainment of Improved Workflow and Reduced Costs
After the integration was complete, CCA rolled out Epicor ECM into their accounting department. There were multiple early successes, including same-day approval processes, improved accountability, reduced printing costs, and accessibility to early pay AP discounts.
Same-Day Approval Process
With the new digital system, approval processes have drastically sped up. As Johnson suggested, there are “a ton of managers” from diagnostic, CT, nuclear, administrative, and clinical departments, all approving a lot of different documents. With the old-fashioned process, these approvals weren’t being processed as quickly as they could be.
As an example, Johnson explained their paper-based workflow for accounts payable invoices: “The invoice would come to us in the mail; then we would send it out to the corresponding manager. It would sit on their desk for a day or two, then they would send it back and we would wait to send it out.” These unnecessary steps dragged down the efficiency of the workflow, adding time and presenting the risk of losing the invoice.
“But now, the manager gets an e-mail saying that they have an invoice to approve and it only takes a minute. The invoices are approved the same day that we receive them.” Even more amazing, Johnson noted how this takes place “within hours of the vendor emailing the invoice.”
Another by-product of the streamlined approval process is how CCA is able to have far less communication about things getting lost because (a) all the documents are available in the system and (b) document accessibility is tracked. Documents are never lost and this prevents unproductive workplace bickering. “You’re not sitting here saying, ‘I didn’t do it, and you didn’t do it, so where is it?’” explained Johnson. This increased accountability speeds up the workflow and allows people to move on to more serious things that increase revenue.
Reduced printing costs
Transitioning from paper to electronic documents has significantly reduced the costs associated with paper. Johnson was unable to provide hard percentages of cost reduction because she feels they haven’t been using the software long enough to say with certainty how much less paper they have been ordering. However, the reduction is certainly tangible: “I can tell you for sure that we are printing less paper,” commented Johnson.
She also sees an unexpected benefit from the drastic reduction in printing: “Not only are we printing less, but we have contacted a portion of our regular vendors to tell them to submit invoices via e-mail. When we receive them, they are automatically imported into DocStar [now Epicor] ECM. Not only are we realizing savings, but our vendors are printing less and saving on postage.” This unexpected saving can only serve to strengthen the relationship between client and vendor, and the DocStar [now Epicor] software is definitely the driving cause.
Early pay discounts for accounts payable
CCA is experiencing another improvement in their vendor relationships—as invoices are being approved more quickly, payment is rendered faster than before. In fact, CCA is now able to take advantage of early payment discounts that were previously unattainable. “We were able to obtain a 2% quick pay discount on one of our larger medical supply vendors,” Johnson relayed, detailing that this is one of the largest accounts payable they have. As these savings trickle through more invoices—large and small—CCA will continuously improve their vendor relationships and their bottom line.
“We really felt that DocStar [now Epicor] was here to help us out and that they understood what we needed—they delivered on that.” —Denise Johnson, Accounting Controller Capital Cardiology Associates, PC
A Future of Continued Epicor Expansion
Despite minor setbacks while transitioning to electronic documents management, Epicor provided quality without compromise. “We had a very good feeling [about Epicor]. We really felt that these guys were here to help us out and that they understood what we needed—they delivered on that.”
After leveraging the time savings and improved efficiency, Johnson adds that the staff, too, is impressed. “The managers that use it, love it. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it.” Now, Johnson and other management executives look forward to further incremental return as they continue expansion of the Epicor solution into other segments of CCA.