Bay Clinic Rolls Out New Electronic System

Media Release:

As of January 1st, Bay Clinic will undergo a major transition in the way it manages its business. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the Stimulus Package, provided Bay Clinic and other community health centers throughout the country with funding to help upgrade information technology systems.  One of Bay Clinic’s four stimulus-funded programs targeted for overhaul is its Practice Management system. Currently, Bay Clinic manages all aspects of its business including patient scheduling and billing with a software program created in the early 1990’s. “Despite the fact that technology has advanced dramatically over the past few decades, we simply could not afford to update our software programs until now” stated Paul Strauss, Bay Clinic CEO.

The new software program which cost nearly $300,000 manages patient flow, including scheduling of appointments, accounts receivable, collections, registration, data reporting, and insurance managed care. It also helps track referrals to specialists. It is a NextGen product that can fully integrate with Bay Clinic’s Electronic Health Record system for improved efficiency and data collection. Once implemented, the new system is expected to improve patient service as well as support the vital business functions of the organization.

When asked how this will impact patients, Jason Ferreira, Bay Clinic’s Health Information Technology Director said “ultimately, we will have updated information on the 16,000 patients we serve which will improve patient registration and appointment scheduling, but any change of this magnitude will cause some delays at first. So, we’re asking for patience for the next 30 to 60 days as we complete the transition”.

“One way patients can help”, said Sarah Nae’ole, who is helping to coordinate the transition “is if patients can bring their I.D.’s and insurance cards to their appointments and if they are uninsured, then some form of income verification so that they can receive discounted services if they qualify.”

Bay Clinic is making new patient registration forms on their website at www.bayclinic.org to help expedite the process. People can print them out and bring them to their appointments.

Bay Clinic already has an Electronic Health Record system that was implemented in 2006 and is a member of the Hawaii County Beacon Community for Health Information Exchange. The new electronic practice management system nearly completes Bay Clinic’s electronic health information technology infrastructure. According to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, Health Information Technology has bipartisan support due to its ability to improve quality and ultimately lower costs. In early 2011, Bay Clinic will be implementing an Electronic Dental Record system, also funded by the Stimulus Act, to complete their transition to a fully electronic health care environment.

Founded as a grass roots women’s health clinic at Hilo Bay front, Bay Clinic has grown into one of the largest nonprofit providers of health care on the Island with a mission to provide high quality health care regardless of ability to pay. For more information, please email madams@bayclinic.org.

One Response

  1. Aloha Damon!

    Thank you for writing this article. I just happened upon it, but I needed to read it because I am going to volunteer with Bay Clinc in mid January. I knew they were converting medical records from paper to electronic, but I didn’t realize the overhaul was this extensive. This has been a very helpful tidbit of info!

    Mahalo and keep up the great reporting!

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