Totalcare replaces Homer at Western Health outpatients

Medical management software vendor Equipoise (International) has completed the rollout of its Totalcare billing solution in several outpatient departments at Victoria's Western Health, having at the same time decommissioned the old Homer system used for patient management and outpatient billing for many years.

Homer has been gradually replaced by iSOFT's iPM patient management system in a number of Victorian area health services for admissions and billing, but until recently Homer was still commonly used for outpatient services.

Western Health has instituted a workflow automation strategy in recent years to deliver financial efficiencies and wanted to upgrade Homer to a new system to improve billing practices, Equipoise's managing director, Nat Wong, said.

It also replaced its radiology information system (RIS) some years ago with a FujiFilm system, which uses Totalcare's enterprise billing system as part of its radiology solution.

“A core part of that tender was the capability to do enterprise billing as well as the RIS,” Mr Wong said. “That project rolled out some time ago and it was deemed to be very successful. They had a massive turnaround in their cash position, because in some of those public environments it can be 12 to 18 weeks in getting paid by Medicare or the DVA.

“That was the catalyst to get them to look at other departments. They did the next one with cardiology and that was deemed to be successful too so then we had a rapid rollout to other outpatient departments like respiratory, neurophysiology, audiology and sleep disorders – anything that was using Homer at that time.”

Homer was successfully decommissioned before Western Health's deadline of September 1 and has immediately shown some financial benefits, Western Health's revenue manager, Teresa Farrugia, said.

“In its first month of operation, in one department alone, cash flow was reduced from up to 150 days to two days and revenue capture also increased,” Ms Farrugia said. “The financial benefits derived from this exercise will positively impact our patient services as well as directly align with our strategy towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.”

Mr Wong said Western Health will also install Medicare's ECLIPSE online claiming solution, which offers a secure connection between hospitals, Medicare, the DVA and health funds.

“[Western Health] is basically doing paperless Medicare and paperless DVA, and with Eclipse it will allow them to do health funds claiming as well,” he said.

He said Totalcare was one of only a handful of vendors in Australia that is certified to use ECLIPSE for non-Australian patients or those who don't have any Medicare coverage.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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