OU Health standardizes physician query workflow and achieves positive results

The Challenge

OU Health, a three-hospital academic health system based in Oklahoma City, faced several challenges with their existing physician query process. OU’s CDI and coding teams were tasked with creating and sending queries to providers using multiple systems and different delivery methods. (HPF, MEDITECH, Iodine, email, fax and in-person) The disconnected workflows caused significant delays, impacted cashflow and made it impossible to accurately track and report query metrics.

The Solution

OU Health was looking for a way to streamline and standardize their query workflow for both CDI/coding and providers. Ultimately, they wanted to improve the quality of the medical record and reduce the increasing DNFB dollars held for queries.

"The implementation of the Artifact Health platform allowed us to completely transform our query process. Not only have our financial and quality metrics improved significantly, but also our CDI and coding staff and providers love it!"
– Jennifer Dhooge, RHIA, CCS, CDIP, CRC, Administrative Director of HIM, Coding and CDI for OU Health

Artifact Health’s HIPAA-compliant, cloud-based, mobile query platform was integrated with OU Health’s MEDITECH EMR system and deployed across their three hospitals in June of 2020.

The OU Health CDI and coding teams could now utilize one platform to create, deliver and track all queries. They could collaborate on concurrent and retrospective queries because of the shared interface in Artifact. OU Health providers were responding to queries in Artifact quickly, often in less than 30 seconds from their mobile device or desktop.

To ensure they were sending queries in a consistent and compliant format, OU Health also leveraged Artifact Health’s relationship with AHIMA, licensing AHIMA’s comprehensive library of compliant physician query templates.

The Results

Within the first couple of months of implementing Artifact, OU Health’s query response rate jumped from 87 percent to 98 percent. Physician response time decreased from over 7 days to under 48 hours on average.

The increased response rate allowed OU Health to appropriately recognize the revenues they were entitled to for the services provided. The faster 48-hour response time significantly decreased DNFB by over 70%, allowing the health system to reduce A/R days and improve cashflow.

In addition, CDI and coding productivity increased significantly. Query volume nearly doubled because the query creation process became faster and providers responded readily without the need for excessive follow-up. The CDI team could now focus on reviewing documentation and providing education.

"The implementation of the Artifact Health platform allowed us to completely transform our query process," said Jennifer Dhooge, RHIA, CCS, CDIP, CRC, Administrative Director of HIM, Coding and CDI for OU Health. "Not only have our financial and quality metrics improved significantly, but also our CDI and coding staff and providers love it!"

OU Health recently asked Artifact Health to remain in place to facilitate query workflow with the health system’s conversion to the Epic EMR system in 2021.