RFP Showdown: September 10, 2001 - Page 2

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: Cecelia J. Hickel">

My Solution: Cecelia J. Hickel

Kiona Scientific

Before you discuss hardware and software options for this solution, you need to analyze every piece of information that needs to be stored—securely—on the system.

That includes basic office appointment schedules, record filing system and file storage, transcription services, tape recordings, medical prescriptions, and so forth. Billing and office administration is not a direct part of this process.

As a first step, identify every piece of media (papers, folders, disk drives, etc.) that you use to record patient information. That can be done by randomly pulling 10 patients records. Make this analysis as complete as possible. Be sure to estimate the amount of storage each record requires, the retention period that is legally required, and any special storage requirements, such as fireproofing. Also estimate or determine the current record management, duplication, patient release and storage costs incurred by the medical practice.

A good second step would be to begin reengineering the patient-record system. First create a test set of patient records, which reflects all of your current record types and processes, for development purposes. Then begin creating and designing the "ideal" records process. This process will include patient survey forms, patient history, therapy sessions, and doctors treatments, among other records. Then assess your current process to see how it measures up against the ideal process. That should give you a place to start for defining design changes and IT developments. Appoint or hire a person to be the technical lead and the security officer (even a small office should have a gatekeeper).

At this point, you are ready to contract a solutions provider to design and build your new system.

Setting budget constraints from the beginning is the best approach. Calculate your budget by considering your current records management expenses and implementing goals to reduce those expenses with the new system; the ultimate goal should be a 10-year ROI.

Based on your budget and the document and process statistics you have compiled in a report, you can begin seeking an RFQ.

If you dont know where to find such expertise, visit guru.com. You can also stay abreast of HIPAA developments by visiting www. hipaacomply.com. And be sure your partners work with open standards like XML.

Any real cost estimates for such a proposal cannot be determined from so little information. A gross estimate would be based on a two-year, three-person team effort for completion through testing.