Business Process Management Therapy

Lancaster General Hospital automates multiple steps, reduces process time to less than a week

Lancaster General Hospital automates multiple steps, reduces process time to less than a week

Cary, N.C. — January 6, 2004 — Lancaster General, an award-winning hospital and healthcare system, announced that it has significantly decreased the time it takes to complete important administrative functions within the hospital, including employee replacement position requests and capital and minor expenditure approvals with software provider Ultimus' business process management (BPM) suite.

A 521-bed hospital located in Central Pennsylvania, Lancaster General employs over 5,000 people, and those people are focused on providing the highest level of patient service possible, according to the hospital.

The company deployed the Ultimus BPM Suite to increase employee efficiencies and ensure greater visibility into workflow, enabling employees to spend more time devoted to patient care, and less time on administrative tasks. In 18 months, Lancaster General said it has automated more than 19 form-based processes using the Ultimus BPM Suite, resulting in time and cost savings.

Healthcare providers and state-of-the-art healthcare equipment are two of the most vital components of Lancaster General's successful performance. Lancaster said it recognized that its processes for requesting employee position replacements and capital and minor equipment approvals were far too time consuming. As a result the hospital automated the lengthy processes with the Ultimus BPM Suite, reducing cycle times.

"We needed an easy-to-use solution that would help us automate a significant number of steps in critical processes to free time for our employees to focus on patient-related tasks," said Irene Zimmer, business analyst at Lancaster General Hospital. "Ultimus provides us a central solution for business process management, ensuring documents and forms are not misplaced, and that any employee can monitor the progress of requests. We have seen a significant reduction in the time it takes to complete tasks across the organization."

The employee replacement process originally took three to four weeks to complete. With three levels of approvals and over 22 steps in the process, Lancaster said it was difficult to monitor the status of the replacement request for the business process owner and the requester. As a result, steps were often duplicated, forms were resubmitted and the human resources department had difficulty meeting management demand.

Once Ultimus was deployed, all but eight steps were automated within the process, including automatically e-mailing updates to critical process participants, saving the completed request form to the human resource server and assigning an employee from the human resources team to the responsibility of hiring a new employee.

Since the deployment seven months ago, the process has been completed over 700 times, and it now takes less than 24 hours to process the majority of requests.

The capital and minor equipment request process was significantly more complex than the replacement position process within Lancaster General, and just as vital to the success of the hospital.

Lancaster General said it could require as many as 14 approvals before equipment valued at more than $5,000 could be purchased. Prior to the deployment of the Ultimus BPM Suite, the approval process was very time consuming and paper based. Relying on the mail to transport requests often lengthened the process.

After deploying the Ultimus-based solution, the hospital streamlined approvals for lower-cost minor equipment. Within six months, more than 500 capital and minor equipment requests passed through the Ultimus process, and approval time was reduced from months to less than one week. Ultimus provided visibility and accountability into all of Lancaster General's automated workflow processes.

Ultimus CEO, Rashid Khan, said, "Lancaster General's success in automating more than 19 organization-wide processes and streamlining operations enables the hospital to focus on providing the award-winning care its patients expect."