Baystate Health in Western Massachusetts transitions to remote CDI program during COVID-19 with Artifact

The Challenge

Baystate Health, a four-hospital system in Western Massachusetts, faced a number of challenges with their existing query process. By far the greatest pain point was asking providers to navigate multiple steps and systems in order to respond to queries.

An unforeseen challenge was the COVID-19 pandemic. Baystate's clinical documentation improvement (CDI) team was transitioned to work from home in early March of 2020,at the same time the Artifact platform was going live across the entreprise.

"In the midst of COVID, with our team moving from working physically in a hospital to now working from home... for our providers to still maintain a contact and a touchpoint with us with ease, made all the difference in the world"
– Jennifer Cavagnac, CCDS, Assistant Director of CDI at Baystate Health

With an influx of critical care patients following in the weeks and months ahead, Baystate's CDI and HIM leadership wondered if providers would adopt new technology during a pandemic.

The Solution

Baystate wanted a technology that would simplify query workflow for providers and allow CDI staff to review more patient records for accuracy and quality improvement.

Artifact Health's HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based, mobile query platform was integrated with Baystate's Cerner EMR and deployed across their four hospitals in March of 2020.

Baystate providers could now respond to queries compliantly from a mobile app with as few as three taps on their smartphone. CDI specialists and coders could now create, send, track and collaborate on queries quickly and easily.

Baystate also leveraged Artifact Health's relationship with HCPro/ACDIS, utilizing their comprehensive library of CDI physician query templates to create and send queries in a consistent and compliant format.

The Results

LISTEN - 37:52 ACDIS Podcast, COVID-19: Queries and front-line workflow, June 24, 2020.

During the deployement of Artifact, the COVID-19 outbreak unexpectedly spiked across the country, and Baystate's leadership ordered all non-essential staff to immediately begin working from home.

"In the midst of COVID, with our team moving from working physically in a hospital to now working from home... for our providers to still maintain a contact and a touchpoint with us with ease, made all the difference in the world," said Jennifer Cavagnac, CCDS, Assistant Director of CDI at Baystate Health.

Within the first month of implementing Artifact, Baystate's query response rates jumped from 94 percent to 100 percent. Physician response times dropped from over 4 days to under 40 hours on average.

"With our [CDI] team moving remote, I lowered my expectations to give my [providers] some time to answer. We have a great team and have been able to achieve our goal of a 48-hour response time. Artifact has made our jobs easier during COVID," said Dr. Nageshwar R. Jonnalagadda, MPH, FACP, FHM, Hospitalist and Physician Advisor at Baystate Health.

Prior to Artifact, it took Baystate providers roughly 10 minutes to respond to a query. Today, it takes under a minute, giving providers back over 2,600 hours of administrative time to focus on patient care.

In addition, CDI and coding productivity increased significantly. Query volume increased by over 50% because the query process became simple and providers responded readily. CDI and coding teams could now focus on reviewing documentation and education, instead of following-up on unanswered queries.

"Our CDI and coding teams have continued querying providers remotely, and our providers are responding, even during this challenging time, because the mobile technology is fast and easy," said Walter Houlihan, FAHIMA, Senior Director of Health Information Management and Clinical Documentation for Baystate Health.

With strong physician engagement achieved using the Artifact platform during the initial months of the COVID pandemic, the CDI team now remains a remote workforce for Baystate.