DB Technology Cuts the Paper Chase for AS/400 Shops
June 3, 2008 Alex Woodie
Grenada Lakes Medical Center faced a quandary when it was getting ready to upgrade its old AS/400 infrastructure with new hardware. The hospital, which runs the MedSeries4 application from Siemens, had thousands of accounts payable transactions sitting on the old machine, and no easy way to move them over. But a solution was found in Report Automation System, from DB Technology, which allowed Grenada Lakes to efficiently mine the AP data into the RAS repository, where it is safely maintained.
It wasn’t the AP situation that first attracted Grenada Lakes to DB Technology’s RAS. The hospital was looking to reduce its dependence on paper-based reports, as well as to simplify the collection process involving multiple disparate platforms. “Our paper costs were sky rocketing out of control and we wanted to get a firm grasp on our document management and report dissemination methods,” says Sarah Longest, Grenada Lake’s CIO.
But with acute AP pain afflicting Grenada Lakes on the eve of an AS/400 upgrade, the fact that RAS could provide relief in this area was vitally importantly. “We were able to quickly move from our old legacy system to the new system–saving over $10,000 in one-time conversion costs by mining accounts receivable information from our old AS/400 platform directly to the RAS system prior to transitioning to our new AS/400 hardware–with all of the data that we needed intact and easily accessible,” Longest says.
The Grenada Lakes story is several years old at this point, although the hospital has recently upgraded its RAS system with the latest release, as well as RASi, the suite’s imaging component. But it’s a common story among DB Technology’s base of customers in the healthcare, hospitality, and retail industries.
According to Rod Neaveill, director of marketing for the New Jersey software developer, DB Technology has more than 50 customers who are AS/400 shops (or iSeries, i5, System i, or i-based Power Systems servers users, as the case may be). “The Grenada Lake Medical Center scenario is not unusual,” Neaveill says. “We have many clients who are cutting costs and saving money with the reduction or elimination of paper and in all the processes associated with paper.”
RAS was designed to streamline organizational workflow processes and reduce paper usage, particularly as it applies to revenue cycle management, which spans from patient registration to remittance, DB Technology says. The AP file is of particular interest for RAS customers like Grenada Lakes. American hospitals–caught between patients who have received medical care and one or more insurance companies that will be asked to foot the bill–lose $25 billion to $30 billion every year through non-collected payments, according to DB Technology.
Running on Windows servers and PCs, RAS helps capture data from a variety of systems, including common hospital systems from Cerner, Epic Systems, Lawson Software, McKesson, MEDITECH, Oracle PeopleSoft, QuadraMed, and Siemens. The software works by intercepting the print data stream, which it then converts into its own format and categorizes in the RAS repository.
As a result of implementing RAS (and its counterparts, RASi for imaging and scanning, and RAS eForms for electronic forms), organizations can expect to reduce their paper use, improve financial reporting, shorten accounting cycles, and comply with regulations like HIPAA.
In Grenada Lakes’ case, the RAS implementation led to a 70 percent reduction in paper usage–a huge number for a modern hospital. But more importantly, RAS provides the go-to location when hospital personnel need to find reports or documentation. “We no longer struggle with misplaced reports,” Longest says. “We have been able to take disparate data sources, turn it into actionable and valuable information while eliminating the need for production, distribution, and storage of paper and microfiche. This has been a positive and enormous impact to our bottom line.”