VP Imaging gains an HME foothold at ATG

Thursday, March 31, 2005

LUBBOCK, Texas -- By securing a contract with the MED Group's largest stockholder, a local document scanning firm now has its foot in the HME door.
Cody Bettis, president of VP Imaging, said the company has long made paperless applications for other industries and that the adoption of its HMEDocs system by national rehab/mobility chain ATG gives them instant credibility in the industry. The company introduced HMEDocs last year and though initial sales were soft, Bettis said he believes market forces will soon ignite more provider interest.
"With all the changes the industry is going through, we expect there will be a big push for going paperless," he said. "If providers are going to be in business in six months, they will need to be as efficient as possible and digital imaging is an essential part of that."
Basically, the HMEDocs software gives providers the ability to transfer paper documents onto an electronic platform where they can be stored and retrieved by office staff. As paper documents come in, they are placed on a digital scanner and copied into an electronic format, where staff members can manage them via the computer. Even though the paper load still exists on the front and back ends of each transaction, the electronic piece alleviates a tremendous amount of activity surrounding tracking and storage, Bettis said.
"The bulk of the costs associated with paper involve storage and file retrieval," he said. "There is a considerable amount of time and money wasted chasing down paper files. Revenues are being lost minutes at a time by manually processing these documents."
Those looking for an eye-opening stat on the staggering amount of paper HME companies typically handle need only take a peek into ATG's file cabinet, said CIO Craig Flood.
"Every one of our folders contains 100 pieces of paper before a product is shipped," he said. "That is an amazing amount of paper and the burden of physically storing it all has become just too much to bear."
From that vantage point, the HMEDocs method started looking awfully attractive. So ATG, the majority owner of Lubbock-based national purchasing alliance MED Group, signed an agreement with VP Imaging last fall and completed the initial phase of implementation in January. The second two phases were scheduled for completion by mid-spring.
"Almost all the documents we handle come in to us in paper form - CMNs, delivery receipts, work orders, billing documents, and so on," Flood said. "They are much more manageable now. Every time a new document comes in, the person responsible for it is immediately notified about the need to take action."
While an all-electronic environment is the ideal for healthcare, Flood says it isn't realistic at this point and as a result the HMEDocs system is more than just a bridge technology.
"It is something we absolutely need in this business and I believe we'll be using it beyond the short term," he said.