Problem: Outdated software, duplicate data entry, lack of systems integration

Solution: Integrated scheduling, time and attendance and human resources/payroll system

Results: Improved workflow, reduced overtime, empowered employees

"Because we realized how integral a workforce management system is to the hospital’s day-to-day operations, we wanted to be certain that the solution we selected was backed by a vendor with a track record of delivering strong customer service."

Martha Clark
Supervisor of IT
Coffee Regional Medical Center

The Need to Streamline Processes

When Coffee Regional Medical Center was in the midst of upgrading its HIS system, senior management also began to look at how they could better integrate the hospital’s workforce management systems to increase efficiencies, save costs and improve workflow.

The hospital hoped to find a solution that would enable the seamless sharing of information between the human resources and payroll departments, thus eliminating time-consuming duplicate data entry and allowing staff to focus on more important departmental tasks. In addition, the hospital was seeking a scheduling system that would provide managers with the accurate, up-to-date employee data they needed to proactively manage day-to-day staffing issues.

While Coffee Regional had been using an automated time and attendance system for several years, the software hadn’t been developed specifically for the healthcare industry and required frequent modifications to accommodate healthcare’s unique rules and regulations.

“We had to ask for special rights to the database of our time and attendance system each time we needed to make a change, which was not only disruptive but costly,” said Martha Clark, Supervisor of IT at Coffee Regional Medical Center. “In an attempt to resolve this issue, we created an interface between our human resources and payroll system, but the interface wasn’t accomplishing what we had hoped. That’s when we decided we needed to look for an integrated workforce management solution focused on the healthcare environment.”

A Fully Integrated Solution

To ensure that key stakeholders were represented in the system selection process, Coffee Regional formed a multi-disciplinary committee comprised of senior administrators and staff from the human resources, payroll and IT departments. After reviewing multiple systems and narrowing the list to several options, committee members made site visits to see the systems in use at other facilities. Selected vendors were then invited to demonstrate their solutions for hospital staff.

“Because we realized how integral a workforce management system is to the hospital’s day-to-day operations, we wanted to be certain that the solution we selected was not only comprehensive but also backed by a vendor with a track record of delivering strong customer service,” said Clark. “We were committed to spending as much time as needed to select the solution that was right for us. After a six-month review process, we made the decision to go with API Healthcare.”

Coffee Regional selected API Healthcare for several reasons. First, committee members liked the fact that the company’s applications have been developed specifically for the healthcare industry and that API Healthcare understands the unique requirements of the 24/7 hospital setting. In addition, since the applications are fully integrated and share a common database, managers would be able to take advantage of features like Web-based access to employee information and real-time report generation—allowing them to more proactively address staffing and scheduling and time and attendance issues. Finally, the committee knew vendor support would be instrumental in ensuring a successful implementation and believed API Healthcare could offer a level of support that other vendors might not be able to provide.

Coffee Regional implemented the API Healthcare time and attendance solution and API Healthcare staffing and scheduling solution in 2006 and went live with the API Healthcare human resources and payroll solution in November 2008. “The combination of strong leadership from our IT director, Pete Furlow, who managed the project implementation, and API Healthcare’s willingness to support us throughout the process helped ensure that the implementation went smoothly,” said Clark.

Solid Results

Since implementing the integrated solution, Coffee Regional has realized a number of benefits. “We’ve been able to staff more efficiently and advantageously, which has contributed to a reduction of our overtime costs by an estimated $625,000 and brought valuable dollars back into the budget for needed improvements elsewhere,” said Clark. “In addition, we were able to reduce Payroll FTEs when two employees retired and did not have to be replaced due to the increased efficiencies we’ve experienced, saving us $35,000 in salary-related costs.”

The hospital has also witnessed measurable process improvements. The payroll process has been shortened from two and a half days to just four hours, and direct payroll deposits now arrive in the bank by Monday afternoon instead of Wednesday—a significant productivity gain that has also contributed to increased employee satisfaction. Automation of the hospital’s retro pay calculations has not only improved departmental workflow but has reduced pay errors, resulting in an estimated savings of $3,000. And, Coffee Regional’s once paper-laden payroll process is now virtually paperless. To date, the reduction in manually generated checks has saved approximately $4,000 in check stock and toner cartridges.

Employees have also benefitted from the technology. A Web-based portal allows employees to perform such routine tasks as printing pay stubs, notifying Human Resources of an address change, viewing copies of W-2s and checking vacation and sick-leave balances—empowering them to take more control of their personal information and reducing information requests to managers. Employees also appreciate the ability to have everyday expenses, such as pharmacy purchases, automatically deducted from their paychecks, which they are able to do via the time and attendance solution’s DeductIT® module.

“Being a small regional hospital, our employees wear many hats and need to be as efficient as possible,” said Clark. “API Healthcare’s solutions have helped us increase productivity, reduce costs and focus more attention on patient care—and we look forward to realizing even more benefits as we implement additional API Healthcare applications in the future.”